It could be a smaller-store footprint. Or a design makeover. Or a totally new format. But there comes a time when even the largest and most successful retailers need to freshen up or rethink their store identities. Here's a look at four brands that are trying on new looks.
Sport Chalet: Sporting goods retailer Sport Chalet has gone urban. The company has unveiled a sleek, streamlined format in downtown Los Angeles, at the renovated FIGat7th center. At 27,000 sq. ft., the new store is considerably smaller than Sport Chalet's existing concept (42,000 sq. ft.) and carries a targeted selection of goods. But customers can access the chain's full offering via iPad systems located throughout the space.
The interior design, by Gensler, puts the emphasis on education and training, with a learning and information hub, called the "Expert Center," at the heart of the space.
"The store design emphasizes both aesthetics and function," said Joshua Breeden, project architect, Gensler. "We wanted to create a space that highlights what Sport Chalet offers above any other specialty sporting goods retailer: expert positioning and knowledge."
The Expert Center was designed to facilitate customer interaction with store staffers, and with audio-visual capabilities, reconfigurable seating and display elements that allow for instructional and hands-on events.
RadioShack: RadioShack Corp. has opened the doors of a new concept store that showcases many of the features that will be part of the chain's new generation of stores to be rolled out in locations over the next several months.
The store, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, aims to attract — and make the iconic brand more relevant to — tech-hungry shoppers by offering a new level of products, service and excitement that makes the buying experience fun. Touchscreens and apps designed to help shoppers understand the benefit of products are located throughout the space, while newly configured displays highlight in-demand brands.
Other features include stores fixtures that enable shoppers to find and compare products, such as a Speaker Wall allowing customers to compare speakers by playing music from their own Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices.
Pep Boys: It's not your father's Pep Boys ... not by a long shot. The auto parts and service retailer is testing a new store concept, in Tampa, Fla., designed to extend its appeal beyond its core DIY-car enthusiasts audience to more service-oriented, or "do-it-for-me" drivers, which include many female customers.
Pep Boys worked with EWI Worldwide, Detroit, to execute an entirely new, more appealing environment, on both the exterior and interior. The design plays to the 92-year-old brand's rich heritage. It has a handsome, modern look, with clean lines, clear signage and good sightlines.
From the new, intuitive navigation to the dealership-like atmosphere of the service lounge, the overall feel is warm and inviting — and adds up to a welcoming brand experience for traditional and new customers alike.
Stride Rite: The venerable children's footwear brand is kicking up its heels with its "Milestones" store design, which was done in partnership with FRCH Design Worldwide. The new environment is designed to appeal to kids and adults like. The look is clean, modern and bright, with extensive use of white mixed with splashes of color. Rainbow carpeting mirrors the colors in Stride Rite's logo.
The layout includes a more open store plan so kids and strollers can move around more freely. The shelves are placed at varying heights so the small fry can easily see all of the styles available.
There's also a new fun fitting area for kids, with a dedicated Fit Station where children can get their feet measured and find out how tall they are by standing against the Fit Totem Pole.
To date, Stride Rite has rolled out the new design in Burlington Mall, Burlington, Mass., and in the new kid-centric section of Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio.