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New York’s New Retail Landscape

New York is one of the most important retail hubs on the globe. Retailers invest highly in innovative store formats here, to trial and test the latest trends in shopper experiences.


New York’s New Retail Landscape

It is within the city that never sleeps, we are seeing the most interesting retail trends emerging.

Immersive Flagship Stores

Retailers and brands are turning their flagship stores into fully immersive experiences. Developing a setting that encourages shoppers to interact with products or a brand in a new way. These unexpected elements delight shoppers and create a highly engaged audience, who want to visit the store and share their experiences.

The Harry Potter global flagship store is designed to transport visitors to the Harry Potter world. It combines a mixture of retail and entertainment experiences across three floors. Visitors are encouraged to use the fan club app to search for enchanted keys within fifteen themed areas. Additionally, two VR experiences offer unique interactive experiences designed to increase dwell time. The immersive experience continues with store employees who embody Harry Potter characters, a personalisation area that allows visitors to engrave and customise exclusive products and photo opportunities with props from the series. The blend of experiences has created a revolutionary concept with fans, making it a must-see when in New York.

Genesis House is an immersive experience by the Korean luxury car brand. Designed as a city sanctuary for lovers of art, design, and cuisine, it is not just a car showroom. Jay Chang, Global Head of Genesis describes the space as ‘storytelling our luxury lifestyle brand and its distinctly Korean culture.’

The 45,000sq. ft. space incorporates a tea pavilion, a library of special edition books, and a Michelin-star restaurant reimagining Korean cuisine. The showroom has been designed as a boutique-like setting with architectural details such as oak beams inspired by traditional Korean palaces. Exploration of the vehicles and their features is encouraged within the space. The space intends to craft sensory experiences while discovering the Genesis brand.

Reimagining Department Stores

Department stores are being reimagined in New York. Moving away from the tired concept of endless products on the sales floor, retailers have refocused on elevating the in-store experience.

Nordstrom has repositioned their store on 57th Street to a store-in-store model. Zones are curated to specific audiences, and anchor brands have unique stores within the flexible floor plan. An emphasis has been placed on customer service and convenience. The first floor, normally a prominent selling space has been redesigned into a customer service bar, where customers can pick up and return quickly and easily. Nordstrom is also investing in experiential retail formats, such as Shoe Bar. Immersed in the middle of the women’s shoe floor, shoppers can browse while sipping their favourite cocktail.

Showfields in Soho has been described as the most interesting store in the world. A new model of what a department store can be, it offers digitally-native brands a physical space to sell on a membership model. Combining pop-up shops with art exhibitions, theatrical experiences, and hospitality. It is pushing the boundaries of what a store can be.

The retailer launched the House of Showfields theatrical experience, staffed with actors, not salespeople, who are trained to tell the story of the brands featured. Shoppers are encouraged to explore and engage with the products using all their senses. Once the experience is over, they are directed to a space called “The Lab” where the products are displayed for purchase.

Unlike traditional department stores, Showfields offer a showcase from many different brands on rotation. Shoppers are sure to experience something new every time they visit. Since opening in 2020 it has become a must-see destination for those who want a different shopping experience.

New York’s retail landscape is evolving rapidly. The disruptive formats that are coming from the city will soon filter to shoppers globally. At Grant, we look forward to seeing what is coming next in the Big Apple.


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