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The new format is less cluttered and includes an extensive assortment of high-end goods for adults.

New Disney Stores Bring Theme Parks To Customers

Walt Disney has renovated several of its retail stores to test a new prototype that includes more components of the company’s theme parks, including big screens that show live streams of daily parades at Disney World and Disneyland.

The California-based company has unveiled 4 of 6 planned stores with the new look, which includes a large video screen in the front. Guests can sing with Donald Duck on their a birthday, with their photo on the screen. These are showing up in the afternoon can sit and watch a live feed of Disneyland’s daily parade down Main Street. The stores will wheel up a cart soon, where customers can buy candy and mouse ears, just like those sold at the parks.

“It’s not unusual to have 50 people or so come on a Tuesday or Wednesday,” Paul Gainer, the executive in charge of Disney’s store’s division, told.  “There’s the opportunity to do many other things.”

Disney, the world’s largest entertainment firm, has had its interest in the retailing ebb and flowed over the years. The corporation once sold and then bought back its stores department. Now, the company has about 340 retail locations around the world, about a third of their peak.

The remodeling matches with a remake of Disney’s online shopping site. The company is more than doubling the volume of merchandise it sells online, with a big increase in items for adults like Coach handbags, David Lerner women’s clothing, and Ethan Allen furniture. The new website includes videos of the products and more themed items displayed, such as Halloween costumes. Merchandise that sells well online will be delivered to the stores, Gainer said.

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(Author : Paul Sawers)
After years of speculation, Microsoft finally confirmed plans to open its first physical retail store in Europe.

Microsoft to open its first European retail outlet in London… next to Apple’s flagship store

The tech giant revealed that it will open a store by Oxford Circus in London’s Regent Street, a prestigious thoroughfare in the heart of the U.K. capital. Interestingly, the new Microsoft store will be situated just a stone’s throw from Apple’s flagship outlet, which reopened with a redesign just last year. Microsoft already operates online stores in Europe, of course, selling everything from hardware such as Xbox One and Surface Book to software, including Office and games.The company has long flirted with a European brick-and-mortar presence, with rumors of a European launch dating back to at least 2012. But for one reason or another, it has never quite come to fruition.

A history of Microsoft stores
The Seattle-based firm first debuted an “on-the-ground” retail experience in 1999 at the Sony-owned Metreon shopping complex in San Francisco, but it exited the space in 2010. Microsoft then kick-started its serious retail store chain efforts in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2009. The company now claims almost one hundred retail stores across the U.S., including its New York flagship, which opened in 2015. It has since gone international, with retail stores opening in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia.

A growing trend we’re seeing is “online” and traditionally software-focused companies shifting further into the brick-and-mortar realm. Amazon has been opening physical bookstores in the U.S., where it also has a growing presence on university campuses, allowing students to try out the company’s own-brand devices. Oh, and then there’s its $13.7 billion acquisition of supermarket chain Whole Foods.

Google, too, has dabbled increasingly in physical outlets, though it has yet to go full-throttle into retail stores. However, with yesterday’s news that it is buying HTC’s Pixel smartphone team for more than $1 billion, that could change in the future.

With Microsoft edging deeper into the hardware realm and now selling a bunch of own-brand Surface laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs, consoles, mixed reality headsets, accessories (there’s even a long-rumored phone reportedly in the works), having a physical presence is more important than ever.

Our customer experience in our physical stores generates confidence and trust in our products and services,” noted David Porter, head of Microsoft Stores. Visitors can expect to see a range of products not just for sale, but also for show across computing, gaming, mixed reality, and artificial intelligence (AI), he added. The London store has been a long time coming, though a firm date for its opening hasn’t been given yet.

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As Chinese chat app WeChat moves into merchandising, it has opened an on-ground “test” WeStore in Guangzhou.

WeChat goes to ground with WeStore test

This follows its announcement that it is partnering with apparel retailer Gap to launch a range of WeChat-branded clothing, its first major foray into branded merchandise. This was foreshadowed at December’s annual WeChat conference in Guangzhou, where are limited-edition range of branded merchandise was released, including pillows, notebooks, stickers and pins.

WeChat goes to ground with WeStore test1

A few months ago, WeChat-themed merchandise such as pillows, bags and light jackets was used as prizes for an online competition.

WeChat goes to ground with WeStore test2


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(Author : Nick  Smatt)
The mobile payments company has opened a storefront in New York City.

Square Opened Its First Brick-And-Mortar Store To Reach More Vendors

Square, founded by influential Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, initially gained traction by selling a card reading device that plugs into a smartphone, allowing businesses around the world to accept credit cards. It helped eliminate the age-old problem of vendors not being able to do business because they didn’t have easy access to a credit card machine.

Now, Square is taking its technology to a brick-and-mortar location with a recently opened physical storefront in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan. The intent of the store is to improve and broaden the customer experience and attract new merchants who may be interested in learning about the brand. The move to a physical retail location is unique for a technology giant, but it feels appropriate given the recent expansion of the products and services Square now offers. From loans to food delivery and inventory management software, the company is reaching further than ever before.

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(Author : Marianne Wilson)
Online luxury consignment retailer The RealReal is taking its resale model into the physical space.

Leader in secondhand luxury retail trying out brick-and-mortar

The retailer plans to open its first-ever permanent retail location in November,  in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, reported Women’s Wear daily. The two-level, 8,000-sq.-ft. store will showcase items from all of The RealReal’s categories and also feature contemporary artwork and a wall of Hermès bags, according to the report. It will host classes and discussions.

The RealReal made its first foray into brick-and-mortar retailing last December, opening a holiday pop-up in SoHo.   Founded in 2011, the  San Francisco-based company recently closed on $50 million in growth funding from private equity firm Great Hill Partners, bringing its total funding to $173 million. The site boasts five million users, has sold four million items to date, and is expected to surpass $500 million in revenue this year.

Although it started out selling apparel, it now also sells jewelry and fine watches. The RealReal stands out in the resale market due to a rigorous authentication process that it uses to weed out fake luxury goods and authenticate the price of its goods.

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(Author : Marianne Wilson)
An online thrift store that counts some 20 million users has opened its first-ever physical storefront.

Another online retailer tries on brick-and-mortar

ThredUp has opened an outpost at Tanger Outlets, in San Marcos, Texas. The company plans to add four additional locations by year end. It is targeting traditional malls, outlet centers, and main street shopping districts nationwide.  “With 85% of apparel still bought offline, stores help us reach those who need to ‘see it to believe it,‘” said James Reinhart, CEO and co-founder, ThredUp. “We’ve found that once customers experience ThredUp’s expectation-shattering quality standards, value and brands, they just keep coming back.”

ThredUp enjoys a strong following among millennials, attracted by its deep discount prices, fashion brands and the excellent condition of its merchandise. “We’re changing the way people think about thrift,” said Reinhart. “In fact, 50% of our customers had never shopped ‘used’ before trying ThredUp online.”
ThredUp doesn’t look or feel like a typical thrift outlet.  It has a clean, modern look, with a minimalist aesthetic.  The store is powered by proprietary technology and a massive amount of online customer data. The inventory is informed by its most active customers, with the selection reflecting the items that are trending in each store’s specific locale.
“Because tens of thousands of items sell on daily, we can determine what brands are trending in certain areas and cities—and stock our stores accordingly,” the company said. The retailer, which has four distribution centers throughout the country, plans to refresh product in the stores on a daily basis.

Founded in 2009, ThredUp boasts items across more than 35,000 brands at prices that it says are up to 90% off the original retail value. Its online inventory is massive, growing by about 1,000 items every hour, according to, which also reports the company has a $500 million valuation.

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(Author : Marianne Wilson)
No two stores are exactly alike at Warby Parker. But its new store in Los Angeles — the eyewear brand’s 50th outpost to date — is more unique than all the others.

Warby Parker goes Hollywood

Located on Melrose Avenue, the new Warby Parker pays homage to Hollywood’s moviemaking history. It even has its own green screen studio where customers can create their own mini-movies.

The store combines Warby Parker’s signature library-styled design and fixtures with such location-specific elements as a classic movie theater-styled marquee with rotating titles out front, a Hollywood-themed mural by Los Angeles-based collage artist Alia Penner and a display of movie clapboards behind the checkout.

The most unique element of the space is the green room, where shoppers can make a 15-second movie, choosing from some 12 different backdrops, ranging from an outer-space scene to an aquarium with a shark. There are also lots of props to choose from — including any of the frames on display. Once the movie is completed, the shopper is given a social-media-friendly copy to share everywhere.

“You keep hearing that brick-and-mortar stores are in trouble, that brands are closing stores, but it’s always been our view that shopping — particularly shopping for glasses, should be a fun, social experience,” Dave Gilboa, who founded Warby Parker with Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt and Jeffrey Raider in 2010, told The Hollywood Reporter. “We want to give people a reason to come into the store.”

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(Auteur : Marion Deslandes)
Snowleader progresse tant côté web que sur le terrain. Après avoir implanté une boutique test à Annecy en 2015, l’entreprise savoyarde, qui a inauguré un nouveau siège en 2016, entend ouvrir un premier magasin à Lyon d’ici la fin de cette année 2017.

Snowleader s'oriente vers la construction d'un réseau physique

Une boutique parisienne pourrait suivre, la société étant en recherche active d’un emplacement dans la capitale française. « Le point de vente à Annecy nous a permis d’apprendre le retail, un nouveau métier pour nous, expose Thomas Rouault, fondateur du site en 2008. Il s’agit surtout d’un lieu événementiel, nous adaptons l’offre en fonction des manifestations organisées dans la région, et organisons des rencontres, des séances de test ou de pratique ». Le but étant de créer un contact avec le client, mais aussi évidemment d’étendre son spectre commercial.

A l’image de la déclinaison de son e-shop à différents pays européens, Snowleader, qui a levé 2,5 millions d’euros en 2015, envisage également, à terme, d’ouvrir des magasins hors de France. En novembre 2016, le site a lancé de nouvelles extensions, pour les marchés allemand, autrichien et suisse, fervents adeptes des sports de neige.

Mais Snowleader est aussi très actif l’été, sur le segment du swimwear notamment, puisque la société réalise 50 % de son chiffre d’affaires durant cette saison. Des ventes globales qui se sont élevées à 13 millions d’euros sur son exercice clos le 31 aout 2016. Soit une hausse de près de 30 % par rapport à l’année précédente. « Nous avons la chance, en tant que pure-player, d’être rentable. Ce qui nous permet de nous déployer de façon organique », se félicite Thomas Rouault, dont le prochain grand défi pourrait être de trouver les clés pour aborder la Scandinavie.

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(Auteur : Nastasia Hadjadji)
La vision disruptive de Birchbox s’applique désormais (aussi) à son premier point de vente européen : à l’occasion de l’ouverture de son espace au 17 rue Montmartre, en plein cœur de Paris, visite sans fard par Quentin Reygrobellet (DG France) et retour sur un business model audacieux.

Le flagship Birchbox, beauté revue et corrigée

Birchbox c’est une communauté de 800 000 fidèles chaque mois à travers le monde, dont 200 000 en France. Pensée par deux entrepreneuses Katia Beauchamp et Hayley Barna, la marque a été la première à repenser les leviers de consommation de beauté au prisme du digital. Le succès de la marque repose sur deux leviers : un concept fort et disruptif (le test produit via les miniatures pour guider l’achat) et une vision marché clairvoyante (la recomposition en profondeur du marché de la beauté depuis l’avènement des réseaux sociaux).

Les barrières d’entrée qui existaient il y a une dizaine d’années sur le marché de la beauté ont disparu sous l’impulsion des réseaux sociaux, et du brand content. Quentin Reygrobellet – DG France de Birchbox.

La multiplication de marques jeunes, pure players du digital, avec une communication exclusivement online et une communauté solide d’ambassadrices sur les réseaux sociaux a donc complètement bouleversé les dynamiques historiques du marché de la beauté.

L’audace de Birchbox a donc été de casser les codes en imaginant une offre transversale qui associe des produits de jeunes marques de niche à des intemporels de marques historiques : «dans notre box, 200 000 femmes peuvent recevoir un produit Clarins à coté d’un produit dont la marque est uniquement construite sur le digital » poursuit-il. En creux, l’idée était donc de s’adapter aux nouvelles attentes de consommatrices, plus versatiles, mais également de répondre aux évolutions des modèles de féminité, moins figés et plus accessibles. « Les femmes représentées par la nouvelle génération de marques sont des femmes qui sont comme tout le monde, et c’est ce qui plaît. Avec Birchbox, nous avons été parmi les premiers à le faire, on ne voulait pas coller aux codes historiques de la beauté ».

Une vision iconoclaste qui se transpose désormais sur un canal offline : pour rendre l’expérience-client transversale, la marque ouvre son vaisseau-amiral européen à Paris. Nichée au coeur du quartier des Halles, cet espace est pensé comme un écrin connecté, complémentaire de l’offre en ligne. De quoi renforcer le lien de proximité déjà entretenu avec la communauté française des clientes de la box, via notamment la création de l’espace évènementiel ‘Studio’ pensé pour recevoir les ambassadrices et clientes tout en perpétuant l’état d’esprit ‘feel-at-home’ de la marque.

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Pour dégager de la croissance en 2017, Longchamp a choisi deux axes : le développement de nouveaux segments, comme la lunette, mais aussi l’ouverture de boutiques en propre dans les grandes métropoles internationales. La maison française, initialement spécialiste de la maroquinerie mais largement diversifiée désormais, vient ainsi d’ouvrir une nouvelle boutique en propre en Russie, la troisième du pays et la seconde à Moscou.

Longchamp place ses pions à Moscou, avant Shanghai, New York et Tokyo

C’est dans le centre commercial moscovite qu’on appelle le GOUM, donnant sur la Place Rouge, que Longchamp a inauguré il y a quelques jours une surface de 135 mètres carrés. Un bel emplacement très haut de gamme puisque situé au rez-de-chaussée de ce grand ensemble historique. Une visibilité qui doit favoriser l’expansion de la marque en Russie, via les grands magasins et revendeurs multimarques.

Dans quelques semaines, fin avril exactement, c’est cette fois à Shanghai que Longchamp renforcera ses positions. Ce sera la vingtième ouverture d’une boutique monomarque chinoise pour la maison française.

Enfin, au second semestre, ce sont deux nouvelles adresses qui sont attendues à New York, sur Fifth Avenue, et Tokyo, à Omotesando. En France, la marque s’attèle à rénover ses points de vente au nouveau concept déjà découvert sur les Champs-Elysées et rue Saint-Honoré : cette fois, ce seront les magasins de la rue du Vieux-Colombier, à Paris toujours, mais aussi du cours Mirabeau, à Aix-en-Provence, qui feront peau neuve.

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