Between 2008 and 2011 Habitat posted losses of £88m, so when the home furnishings retailer fell into administration in June 2011, it was undoubtedly sad for customers of the 47 year-old company, but probably not a surprise to analysts.
But Home Retail group believed in the homewares specialist, and kept its spirit alive with concession in Argos and Homebase stores. Now Habitat is beginning to gain momentum, having today unveiled the first phase of its new flagship store design on London‘s Tottenham Court Road, as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment project.
“Habitat is still a brand that customers want to experience and engage with in a physical way and customer reaction to the roll out of 82 Mini Habitat stores over the last three years has been testament of this,” said Habitat MD Clare Askem, The redesign of Tottenham Court Road is based on our learnings from these stores and we‘re proud that we can now offer a world class flagship in our home capital to showcase the best of Habitat deisgn.”
The redesigned 17,000sq ft basement includes a new fitted kitchen studio, cookshop, gallery space, expanded furniture and upholstery floor alongside a new lighting department. The 25,000sq ft store has been Habitat‘s main flagship since 1983 when it relocated from its original Tottenham Court Road address that opened in 1966.
Developed in-house by Creative Director, Polly Dickens, Creative Manager, Graham Copeland and designer Matthew Long, the new store design showcases a new retail environment for the brand that has evolved from its successful Mini Habitat concept store in Chichester which the brand opened earlier this year.
The two storey renovation features a new layout and design scheme that strips the building back to its original architectural framework and will include a new main entrance, re-designed central staircase, bespoke fixturing and a monochrome scheme with black wood floors. The design also incorporates new dedicated departments including a cookshop, fitted kitchens design studio as well as new gallery space and expansive textiles wall. Video walls will also feature in the design with content developed to showcase online campaigns from Habitat‘s website. Interaction screens in-store will also allow customers to browse the full Habitat collection online.
“Tottenham Court Road is our largest store project to date and marks a key milestone for Habitat on today‘s British high street,” added Askem. “As we invest and evolve the Habitat brand in a digital space we also recognise the important of building on our in-store experience by creating immersive, engaging stores that reflect our mission to bring unique design with personality to everyone.”