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  • GARY McCARTNEY

What Makes Destination Retail Relevant?


Destination retail store design concepts
Bailey Nelson & General Monster

The design of retail stores is intertwined with the future of workspaces. As work decentralises, so also does the retail that supports it. As workers remain in their home suburbs for most of the work week, the retail that supports them needs to be local.


We already know that convenience stores with a relevant local offer have done well during the pandemic. Even with a return to work in city offices this pattern will stick.


So what becomes of retail with a destination presence? Would you travel to shop when you can have the same experience closer to home?


Have a look at these pictures of eyewear stores. They both sell essentially the same thing. On the left is Bailey Nelson, who, in their own words, “deliver fantastic eyewear frames at a reasonable price, backed up by great service.” A great everyday eyewear store. Would you travel far to go to one? Probably not.


On the right is Gentle Monster, a high concept Korean brand whose stores appear in international centres, individually designed in collaboration with artists and sculptors. Often, you’d be hard pushed to see any glasses for sale. It's the experience that customers go there for. Would you expect to find one on your local shopping street? Again, unlikely.


If we expect customers to travel we have to offer them a different experience than they would get close to home.


Otherwise, what’s the point of destination shopping centres?