Kurt Geiger's Shoeaholics opens giant Westfield store
The company’s website sells 150 labels ranging from high-street to designer brands and this latest move clearly shows the parent company's belief that the footwear market is due for a boom in 2021.
Despite the chain having a buoyant 2020, the wider footwear market struggled last year as UK consumers spent more time at home, while those shoes that did well tended to be casual or sports-focused.
But some online players were able to capitalise on last year’s once-in-a-lifetime circumstances and Mark Hoyal-Mitchell, Head of Shoeaholics, said the business saw a “huge increase in demand throughout the pandemic with individual consumer spend in many cases three times the norm”.
He expects “consumer demand to continue to increase, especially as we come out of lockdown” and said the Shoeaholics brand has “made a conscious effort to build on the momentum from the last year and have done this by opening seven stores since last year during a time when other retailers are leaving the high street”.
He feels there’s “a gap in the market for a one-stop shop for shoes from over 150 great brands, especially with the future of department stores at risk. We want to bring our expertise to the high street and provide a space where our customers can find their perfect shoe at the lowest price available.”
Kurt Geiger set up Sheoaholics in 2014 as an online-only operation, but started opening physical stores last summer as the UK's non-essential retail reopened following the first lockdown. It currently has locations on Oxford Street in London as well as at the designer outlets in Cheshire Oaks, Livingston, Birmingham NEC, Dalton and Swindon.
The opportunity for online brands to open stores at flagship sites is clearly huge at present as many sites are empty due to business failures or companies rethinking their physical retail strategies.
With reports of buoyant footfall since UK stores reopened last month, and with the UK’s return to office and social life set to accelerate in the weeks ahead, it could be a good time to open a physical space.
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