Eight must-visit stores opening in 2022 you need to know about

Retail Gazette rounds up the big new shops opening this year and why you should check them out.

Ikea Hammersmith is its first small format store in the UK
Ikea Hammersmith is its first small format store in the UK

Last week Retail Gazette revealed that Next is to open its first UK department store, bringing fashion, beauty and home together in one giant shop.

The Next store is not the only notable shop making its debut in 2022, there are many more landmark shops opening their doors that are set to make their mark on the UK high street. Retail Gazette rounds up eight of the best.

Next, Atria Watford

Fresh from opening its first Beauty and Home stores in 2020, Next is developing a department store in Atria Watford, bringing fashion, beauty and home together for the first time, which opens in April this year.

The retailer has been building a department store offer online for a while with an expanding array of third party brands and a fast-growing beauty division but the retailer has clearly spotted an opportunity to bring that wider offer to the high street.

Next opened its first Beauty stores in 2020.
Next opened its first Beauty stores in 2020.

The 94,000 sq ft, three storey store is actually a relocation of its existing fashion store in the Watford shopping centre. It is closing the fashion store and extending its Next Home and Beauty shop, which is housed at the former Debenhams at the scheme, and adding a fashion offer.

The store will also have an adjacent Victoria’s Secret, the lingerie brand in which Next owns a majority stake in the UK, that is linked to the Next store.

At a time when John Lewis and House of Fraser are closing stores and Debenhams has disappeared from the high street, Next hopes to prove there’s still life in the department store model.

Gymshark, London

Online activewear brand Gymshark is opening its first bricks-and-mortar store on London’s Regent Street this summer.

Gymshark is opening its first store this summer
Gymshark is opening its first store this summer

Gymshark founder Ben Francis has promised a store not to be missed. “It’s going to be incredible, it’s going to be experiential, and we want to bring as much of that Gymshark vibe and community in to this place,” he said last month.

The 18,000 sq ft Regent Street store, which was formerly occupied by J Crew, will be about more than retail. It’s a space where Francis aims to bring its community closer together than ever before.

The flagship will sell Gymshark product, however, Francis said that the “vast majority” of the store would be used for experiences such as workout spaces and special events.

Gymshark, which has trialled a number of pop-up stores around the world, is a hugely popular brand. Sales more than doubled to £400m in its year to July 2021.

The business that former Pizza Hut delivery driver Francis set up in his bedroom is now worth more than £1 billion.

Ikea, Hammersmith

Ikea will bring its small, high street format to the UK next month with its new Hammersmith shop, which opens on 24 February.

Ikea Hammersmith has a new food format, The Swedish Deli
Ikea Hammersmith has a new food format, The Swedish Deli

The 49,500 sq ft store, which is around a quarter the size of a traditional Ikea store, focuses on home accessories, soft furnishings and a new food offer called The Swedish Deli.

The store will have a free-flowing layout with roomsets designed around urban living. It will stock 4,000 products, which are located next to the roomsets they represent, rather than within Ikea’s traditional Market Hall concept.

Larger home furniture pieces will be on display and can be ordered for home delivery or delivery to nearby collection points.

The store is part of Ikea’s aim to adapt to evolving shopping habits and become more accessible, affordable and sustainable.


READ MORE: In pictures: Ikea to open first small UK high street store in Hammersmith next month


Sports Direct, Birmingham

Sports Direct is opening a 60,000 sq ft megastore in Birmingham, which brings together many brands in the Frasers Group, including fashion retailer USC, Evans Cycles, Game and a Belong Esports arena.

Sports Direct, Oxford Street
Sports Direct revamped its Oxford Street store last year as part of its ongoing elevation strategy

The store is housed in the former Primark store, which the retailer vacated in 2019 when it created the largest fashion shop in the world on Birmingham High Street.

Sports Direct’s four floor megastore will open in the spring and Frasers Group’s incoming chief executive Michael Murray promised it would be the retailer’s “most advanced store to date”.

The store is part of the Frasers Group’s ambitious elevation strategy, which will see it invest significant sums in its retail fascias and digital platforms, with the vision to serve consumers with the world’s best sports, premium and luxury brands.

It has won plaudits for how it has transformed a number of its shops, which once had the reputation of looking downmarket and lacking store standards, including its flagship on London’s Oxford Street that was revamped last year.

M&S, Birmingham

Another retailer is on the move in Birmingham. M&S is relocating its High Street store to take the 67,000 sq ft left void by Debenhams in the city’s famous Bullring shopping centre.

The new four-floor M&S store will house a two-storey food hall below its clothes and homeware floors. It is slated to open in late 2022.

M&S will replace Debenhams in the Bullring, Birmingham
M&S will replace Debenhams in the Bullring, Birmingham

Marks & Spencer’s regional manager Katherine Ottewell said the store will offer the “very best of M&S”.

“This investment in the city is part of the wider reshaping of our store estate to make sure it’s fit for the future, meeting the needs of customers today and those of tomorrow.”

M&S has been closing more stores than it has opened in recent years as it adapts to a shopper that is spending more online. However, it clearly sees the bricks-and-mortar opportunity in Birmingham, where its Bullring store is expected to be a jewel in the crown.

M&S, which has been in turnaround mode for many years, finally appears to have turned a corner and is wooing back customers to its clothing.

The retailer now sells many complementary brands such as Jigsaw, FatFace and Sosander online. All eyes will be on the Birmingham store to see how it uses the space to promote its third party and digital business.

Harrods H Beauty, Newcastle and Bristol

Luxury department store Harrods has been expanding its portfolio by rolling out its H Beauty concept, what it refers to as a “beauty playground”, over the past 18 months.

Harrods opened H Beauty in Lakeside in late 2020
Harrods opened H Beauty in Lakeside in late 2020

The retailer has opened three H Beauty stores so far, in Lakeside, Milton Keynes and Edinburgh, but 2022 will bring two new stores in Newcastle’s Metrocentre and Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway.

At the Metrocentre, Harrods will be opening a 30,000 sq ft store at the Town Square section of the scheme with hoardings up outside the former House of Fraser store.  In Bristol, H Beauty will fill the void left by BHS.

The store, which sells make-up, skincare and fragrance from a host of brands, both legacy and next generation newcomers, will feature interactive playtables where customers can experiment with products, skincare stations for mini-treatments, and a champagne bar.

An opening date has yet to be confirmed for either store, although the Bristol store is reported to currently have signs outside reading “opening soon”.

Aldi Shop&Go, Greenwich

One of the must-see stores of 2022 has already opened. German discounter Aldi launched its first checkout-free store on Greenwich High Street, London, earlier this month as it seeks to emulate Amazon Fresh.

Aldi opened Shop&Go in Greenwich earlier this month
Aldi opened Shop&Go in Greenwich earlier this month

The Aldi Shop&Go concept, which was trialled for months with the grocer’s store staff before opening to the public, allows customers to put items in a bag and walk out without scanning items or paying at a till.

Aldi is the latest grocer to launch checkout-free technology as retailers react to Amazon’s checkout-free grocery store expansion, which has seen the online giant open 15 shops across London since its Amazon Fresh debut in March last year.

Aldi has worked with retail technology firm AiFi to develop the tech, which is similar to Amazon’s Just Walk Out kit. AiFi’s technology uses specially positioned cameras to detect what a customer has picked up.

One advantage Aldi’s checkout-free store has over Amazon’s is that it uses facial age estimation software to authorise the sale of alcohol. At Amazon Fresh stores a staff member has to manually approve the purchase.

For those unable to make the journey to Greenwich, check out Retail Gazette’s review of the store.

Amazon Style, Los Angeles

Although outside the UK, Amazon Style makes the list as it has the potential to revolutionise fashion stores as we know them.

Amazon Fresh was launched in the UK last year and has stimulated the grocers to create their own version sof Amazon's checkout-free store
Amazon Fresh was launched in the UK last year

After disrupting the world of grocery stores with its checkout-less Amazon Fresh stores, the online giant has turned its sights to fashion. Its 30,000 sq ft Amazon Style store will open at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles later this year.

The predictably high-tech store will truly merge online and offline, with algorithms set to be used in store to recommend customers which clothes to try on.

Amazon Style managing director Simoina Vasen described the store as “a magic closet”.

She told Reuters: “We wouldn’t do anything in physical retail unless we felt we could significantly improve the customer experience.”

Customers will be able find clothes on racks like a normal clothing store but they will need to scan a code on the Amazon mobile app to select a colour and size that they wish to try on.

Shoppers will then enter a virtual queue for the fitting room, which is unlocked via their smartphone when they are ready. Touchscreen monitors in the room also suggest items for shoppers to try on.

The high-tech experience doesn’t end there with Amazon Style shoppers able to pay using the online retailer’s biometric palm-scanning system “Amazon One” at checkout.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Other than Harrods I’m not that fussed about the rest though M and S would be good to see how the new generation stores work.

    Not sure why you keep going on about Next Department stores. They have been there and done it before under George Davies and nearly went bust doing so in the late 80’s as they opened these large stores next to other mens and womens stores that were taking sales from each other.

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