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Press Release / 03 March 2020

intu to launch UK's first dedicated store for online brands

intu is set to launch the first UK store dedicated entirely to fast-growing online fashion labels

Set to open at intu Lakeside in June, Fashion House will bring together nine digital brands. They will trade from an 8,500 sq ft store, which will host a catwalk, new retail technology, including a selfie-mirror that will encourage social sharing, a DJ booth, and a VIP personal stylist service. 

Whyte Studio, Alice’s Lips, and Gina Bacconi have already signed-up. intu is in negotiations with other on-trend fashion brands that want to make their first moves from digital to bricks-and-mortar. 

intu has introduced a new flexible lease that will allow it to offer opportunities to more emerging online brands when space becomes available. intu will manage and operate the store, including staffing, store fit out and experiential elements, providing a space that will enable new entrants to physical retail to succeed.

Fashion House brands will not only benefit from a rental structure that supports this transition but also from the experience and exposure intu has to promote their brands.

This is a great and unique way for disruptive fashion brands to expand into bricks-and-mortar at minimal risk whilst also delivering key elements of our strategy

Rebecca Ryman
Customer performance director at intu

Rebecca Ryman, customer performance director at intu, said: “This is a great and unique way for disruptive fashion brands to expand into bricks-and-mortar at minimal risk whilst also delivering key elements of our strategy to sharpen our focus on our customers and transform our centres. intu gets to showcase new brands with strong social media followings and brand ambassadors, bringing more of the next generation of fashion-conscious shoppers to intu Lakeside.

“We will help these brands to curate their trading areas, while also creating an amazing experience for visitors, bringing a little bit of magic into physical retail. This will include impromptu DJ sets; fashion shows and new technology that will let our visitors tap into their social networks as part of their retail experience.”

Whyte Studio founder and creative director Bianca Whyte, an international house DJ known as DJ B Whyte and ex-champion Australian motocross rider, said: “Whyte Studio is all about a modern approach to style and design. Inspired by my time as a motocross athlete in Australia and time designing out in LA, our trademark style can be described as tailored, sports-inspired outerwear with unique detailing, built to last. We aim to produce creative, iconic staple pieces, that allow the wearer to express their individual style.

“We found the perfect fit with the innovative concept from Fashion House curated by intu, to present our designs and connect with shoppers in an interactive and curated space, alongside the best of emerging British fashion.”

All brands that partner with intu on Fashion House will also benefit from exposure through its affiliate website intu.co.uk and through its cashback app intu Pocket.

Fashion House is not intu’s first direct retailing project; it follows the launch of The Birdhouse Café in Nottingham’s intu Broadmarsh last year, a coffee shop promoting a number of local businesses. Launched with coffee roastery 200 Degrees, Ugly Bread Bakery and soft drink specialists Belvoir, the café aims to provide a platform for flourishing independent retailers and has seen great success to date.

intu Lakeside, where Fashion House will be based, is the premier retail and leisure destination in the South East. It is home to over 250 stores and enjoys an annual footfall of around 20 million, equivalent to filling London’s Wembley stadium every single day of the year.

The centre’s new £72m leisure development increases the total size of the centre to 1.6m sq ft and is set to increase footfall by more than two million a year. The new development is home to a host of new and exciting leisure providers. Children’s indoor adventure experience Nickelodeon Adventure recently opened its doors there, the first of its kind in the U.K.

It was recently named a top-5 shopping centre by data analytics company GlobalData , alongside eight other intu destinations in the top 20.

Any online retailer or brands who are interested in working with intu Fashion House can contact Indrajeet Mukherjee (Indrajeet.Mukherjee@intu.co.uk) or Daniel Shaw (Daniel.Shaw@intu.co.uk) for further information.