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A new twist on age old concepts

Last week I explored the deep, individual connections two Stockholm retailers had on the cycling category. This week, still in Stockholm, I explore new thinking which is reinventing in the department store and mall space.

In the MOOD

MOOD which opened in 2012 is the brainchild to create an entirely new retail shopping experience away from standard mall experiences. This unique environment is a blend of food, shopping, socialising and culture all wrapped into one. It’s the type of place I would especially like to while away the day whether meeting friends or working my way through the champagne bars.

Designed after several years study of retail and shopper behaviour in the Swedish capital the mall is divided into three distinct zones. First is the everyday zone based around affordable fashion brands; second is the wishing zone which includes more edgy brands such as Scotch & Soda and G-Star Raw and the top level is based around upmarket brands.

What makes MOOD distinctly different as a shopping experience is detail invested into making this a classically Swedish design location. The fit-out is not over the top but extremely well thought through - boring walls look beautiful, a water pipe is made into an art feature and interesting seating places and breakout spaces inter dispersed throughout the complex add to the multi-use of the facility.

Little touches to make boring spaces visually beautiful

Making the practical look pretty

The kid’s space is pretty cool without being kiddy, the public toilets are a design piece in themselves and fully kitted with hair dryers and straightening irons so you can smarten yourself up before you meet friends. A concierge service can help with anything from changing car tyres to rent-a-chef. And to get the creative juices flowing you can book one of the treehouses - fully equipped with all the essential business equipment - for a meeting.

Fantastic kid’s space

Concierge can organise practically anything for you

But what I loved best was the interspersion of food and wine right throughout the complex. From the groovy juice bar that looks like a moody cocktail bar to the champagne and whisky bars. All delivered with a level of detail that makes you want to return again and again.

Groovy juice bar

Many different styles of eating right throughout the complex – both inside and out

Retailer turned property business

Before we visited, I’d not heard of the six-story department store extravaganza that is Nordiska Kompaniet, or NK as the locals call it. NK’s CEO, Matthias Nygards explained to us (Westfield Retail Study Tour 14) that “We are not a retailer, we are a property company.” By reimagining their future, NK transformed their 112 year old brand into a 100% concession model.

Choosing a non-traditional path, this 25,000 sqm department store contains 100 different concessions with a diversity of product from fashion to Swedish hotdogs.

Even though they operate as a property company, they act intimately like a retailer. The management team focus on driving traffic through their extremely popular loyalty card whose 140,000 members account for more than 50% of revenue. With loyalty as with other aspects of operations, (such as bags – they are the same whether you are buying groceries or shoes) all tenants adhere to the critical standards demanded to be a part of the offer while maintaining their own floor space and staff. All staff are required to undertake NK training on an annual basis.

For shoppers it is a relatively seamless experience where you turn a corner and come to a new pop of a branded experience. Rents for each concession are based on the brand, location and size.

A fabulous grand foyer boasts an eatery and provides a central location for events. A media event for Magnum was in full swing on the day I was there with VIP’s clamouring to create their own personal Magnum ice-cream just as they like it. Way more experiential than other department stores. The words of the CEO were apt, “We sell products, but it’s all about entertainment”. That’s a promise they appear to deliver on.

Magnum experience in the grand foyer

A selection of concessions ranging from beauty, to fashion, food and homewares

Stockholm is a fabulous retail oasis where the winner takes it all. There is so much more to enjoy than ABBA and IKEA. Interesting shopping precincts, sublime execution, innovative thinking and a fully immersive slickness and sleekness to the experience mean that a visit should be on your lifetime wish list.

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