Fenwick invests heavily in Newcastle flagship in anniversary year
There are big plans — both near term and long term — on the horizon for Newcastle’s Fenwick department store.
The flagship store, regarded by the owner as “a major icon in the community”, is to receive a £40 million multi-year investment makeover.
And with the group also celebrating its 140th anniversary this month and the Newcastle store being its first to open, it will be hosting a “non-stop parade of covetable collaborations, exclusive events, and thrilling activities”, beginning this weekend.
First that major investment plan that will see the modernisation of the whole store carried out in phases over the next five years.
The upgrade will begin with the ground floor opening up around its central escalators. It includes the key beauty hall and fragrance and accessories departments that will be transformed over the next 18 months.
“The main reason why you do the ground floor [first] is that’s frankly where the bulk of your business is taken,” Fenwick chief Executive John Edgar told Retail Week.
The investment marks the next stage in the renovations that began with an upgrade to the store’s facade.
Fenwick also said it will work closely with Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Initiative to support the regeneration of the city.
“It is a significant investment – I think it is part of giving Newcastle what it deserves,” Edgar said. “It’s where our business started, it’s our biggest store by some degree. We’re a major icon in the community.”
He added: “We always invest in our stores but we think it’s time to make a step-change and really redefine what good looks like in terms of the retail landscape, at least in Newcastle city centre.”
And to mark that major anniversary, the Newcastle store has put together a wide programme of events starting this weekend. It begins with a live circus performance on Saturday (26 March) in addition to Exhibition 140, a display documenting the past through the inclusion of pieces from the Fenwick archive as well as and “looking to the future”.
There’s also a celebratory exclusive collaboration from a range of fashion brands including Edeline Lee, Rixo, Paul Smith, Never Fully Dressed and Fred Perry.
Additional activities also include a collaboration with fashion students from Northumbria University, creating bespoke pieces for today but inspired by the Fenwick archive and brand story.
A podcast series entitled ‘The Woman Who…’ narrated by actress Zawe Ashton also celebrates women past and present “who embody female empowerment through the circus of life”.
Kieran McBride, Fenwick Newcastle store director, said: “To mark the occasion, we have a fantastic line-up of spectacular events.
“We will announce a series of further events in the coming weeks which we are incredibly excited to share. Fenwick has always been proud to be a big part of the community here in Newcastle.”
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