Blackwell’s is to open a new 3,000 sq ft store in the new Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford tomorrow (24th October), with a “completely different” format designed to broaden its customer base.
The outlet in the new shopping centre, which will be located next to a branch of John Lewis, is Blackwell’s first trade-focused store for several years and is a “key” part of the company’s growth strategy to attract more families to the brand. It is one of several shop models the retailer is looking at and, if successful, the firm has other sites in mind for more new openings, Dean Drew, sales and marketing director at Blackwell’s, divulged.
“The store is completely different to all our other flagship or campus shops,” Drew said. “It’s designed to attract people in, so visually different and designed for families and gift buyers inside. Its more fun and more visually engaging.”To that end, it will contain a number of screens telling the story of Blackwell’s history and displaying promotions, a larger kids’ section and a larger, “vibrant” gift offer.
It has also lined up a “huge” events programme related to lifestyle, adult fiction and children’s books, with Nigella Lawson, Henry Blofeld, Cressida Cowell and Robert Harris slated to appear.
The shop will also promote Blackwell’s e-commerce platform and click and collect services within the store. Eight booksellers will work at the shop, which will be managed by Charlie Young, formerly of Waterstones in Manchester.
“This is a key part of Blackwell’s growth strategy—to broaden our customer base—with a focus on fiction, lifestyle, children’s—to attract more families into the brand,” Drew said.
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