Seven exciting new concession partnerships bringing shoppers to stores

Asos has launched concessions with US department store Nordstrom
Asos has launched concessions with US department store Nordstrom

This week Next opened its first Gap concession in its Oxford Street flagship while M&S revealed it would introduce ELC shop-in-shops into selected stores and Tesco and Homebase struck a similar partnership.

Concessions are a big trend right now. It’s unsurprising as they are win-win.

Shop-in-shops can provide an efficient way for retailers to bring something new to their stores and drive additional footfall, and can create a new route to market for brands, without the need to invest in their own retail presence.

Retail Gazette looks at some of the most compelling concessions launched in retail over the past year.

Next and Gap


Next has teamed up with Gap to launch shop-in-shops in a selections of its stores.

The first concession opened this week at Oxford Street, where 4,400 sq ft of the Next flagship is devoted to Gap.

The shop-in-shop has its own entrance at street level and sells womenswear, menswear and a vast collection of kidswear.

After the closure of Gap’s 81 UK and Ireland stores last year, Next signed a deal to manage Gap’s UK and Ireland operations.

The two companies have formed a joint venture – of which Next owns 51% – to operate Gap’s ecommerce business across the Next Total Platform, its fast-growing online business.

Next will open Gap concessions in a selection of its stores as part of the deal.

Gap is the latest brand to take concession space at Next’s Oxford Street store with Sockshop, O2, Lipsy, Paperchase and Costa Coffee taking space. However, Gap is by far it’s biggest concession in the outlet.

M&S and Early Learning Centre

Marks & Spencer has revealed that it will open 10 Early Learning Centre toy shops in its stores by the end of March, including at Bluewater, Birmingham Longbridge, and Liverpool.

ELC to open concessions in M&S

Neil Harrison, director of brands at M&S, said the move was part of an effort to become “more relevant, more often to families” in stores, after testing Early Learning Centre products on its website.

Toys is a new category for M&S stores, and the concessions will have activity tables for children to play with as well as toys for sale.

M&S has been growing its branded business after began selling external brands on its website a year ago. Alongside ELC, it also stocks Joules, Hobbs, Phase Eight, and White Stuff.

It also plans to launch concessions for Nobody’s Child, another brand it introduced online last year and has since bought a 25% stake in.

Nordstrom and Asos

Asos’ partnership with US retail department store Nordstrom will not just bring Topshop, the brand it bought out of administration last year, back into physical stores, it will also lead to the online giant itself taking its first step into bricks and mortar.

Asos launches Nordstrom joint venture to sell Topshop clothes in US stores
The move comes five months after Asos bought Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT from administrators for Sir Philip Green’s now-collapsed Arcadia empire for £330m.

The deal struck last year, which also saw Nordstrom take a minority stake in Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and activewear HIIT brands, is designed to build the brands across the US and Canadian market.

Topshop will take space in some of Nordstrom’s 350 North American bricks-and-mortar stores and Asos will also make its retail debut in the department stores.

The online retailer will create an edit of the best Asos brands that will go on sale in selected “high-impact” Nordstrom stores as well as

Asos will also offer click-and-collect services in Nordstrom stores.

Asda and In The Style, New Look and Missguided

Asda is seeking to build its clothing business and appeal to a younger generation of shopper by partnering with external brands.

The grocer already has a strength in fashion due to its George brand, which is the second biggest clothing retailer in the UK by volume.

Asda set the target of teaming up with between 16 and 20 third-party brands in 2021.

Three of the biggest are In The Style, New Look and Missguided.

In The Style was Asda’s first fashion tie up. In June last year the grocer revealed it would roll out the etailer’s fashion both online and in 100 Asda stores.

The grocer swiftly followed this up with a partnership with fellow etailer Missguided, which was also rolled out to 100 stores from August.


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It has been slightly more conservative with its New Look concession partnership.

After a trial of two stores in September, Asda added eight more New Look concessions after an “encouraging initial sales reaction”.

The retailer said it planned to introduce these concessions to, what it termed, “destination” stores.

Asda and B&Q


Fashion is not the only area where Asda is adding concessions into stores.

The grocer has struck partnerships with a range of third-party brands including The Entertainer, Decathlon and Claire’s Accessories.

But one of its most recent tie ups is with home improvement firm B&Q.

Since the end of 2020, Asda has introduced B&Q shop-in-shops to its supermarkets.

It now has six B&Q concessions, with its latest opening in Asda’s Lancaster branch in November 2021. It adds to the B&Q shop-in-shops in Thurmaston, Edmonton, Roehampton, Sheffield and Dagenham.

Customers can place their orders from B&Q’s full range at the shop-in-shop for either home delivery or click-and-collect. They can also take away essential home improvement products and expert advice at the concession.

Next and Homebase

While Asda has added DIY products to stores, Next has focused solely on garden-related products through its tie up with Homebase.

Homebase has concessions in Next stores
Homebase has concessions in Next stores

Next last year launched six Homebase shop-in-shops in its stores in Bristol, Sheffield, Ipswich, Warrington, Camberley and Shoreham.

The Homebase concessions sell pots, plants and garden tools, while staff are on hand to offer customers advice on their gardening projects.

Tesco and Pret a Manger

In June 2021, coffee chain Pret a Manger launched a concession in Tesco’s Kensington store in London.

Since then Pret has launched four other concessions within the supermarket as it seeks new routes to market at a time when pandemic-driven changes to how we work has hit the business, which relies on office workers.

Pret chief executive Pano Christou said collaboration between compatible businesses can help give the high street a “fighting chance” post-Covid.

Tesco approached Pret to create the tie up, which the sandwich chain will pay turnover-based rents for. Christou emphasised to the Evening Standard that the partnership is not a franchise agreement and that trained Pret baristas would make its coffee in Tesco stores.

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  1. Next need concessions/ tie ups to keep there store estate alive as it’s constantly cannibalising it’s store estate to it online operations. Their also trying to break into the market which Debenhams left behind. Hopefully they don’t make the same mistakes. Would explain why they buy into the brand and put into there store estate.
    M&S are very much just a sheep that copy’s Next. Over the next year or so your find M&S own clothing will shrink dramatically and it’ll be pushing 3rd party brands within there stores like next and there fill there stores with opticians & early learning centre within the C&H section as it’s only the food & cafes that keeps there store going.
    I not really sure what’s going on with Asda they seem like there trying to be all things to all man. Be one to watch to see what way it goes.
    Hopefully topshop/man and co do well in the US and the brand comes back to the British high streets.


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