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Browns unveils a connected luxury store, Bentley translates automotive design into apartments and Chinese consumers seek next-generation protein.

Browns’ tech-driven store augments luxury retail

Browns Brook Street, Mayfair, London Browns Brook Street, Mayfair, London
Browns Brook Street, Mayfair, London Browns Brook Street, Mayfair, London
Browns Brook Street, Mayfair, London Browns Brook Street, Mayfair, London

London – The luxury department store’s new technology-enhanced layout promises to transform high-end retail.

Browns, which is owned by e-commerce platform Farfetch, is becoming a connected and service-driven luxury environment, building on Farfetch’s mission to create the store of the future. In this vein, this new multi-brand store is complemented by the Browns app, which allows customers to book appointments and pre-arrange a selection of items on arrival. Meanwhile, the store's changing rooms will feature connected mirrors to display products selected by customers.

Other experiential elements include an on-site restaurant, a dedicated area for make-up and styling, and a space for a changing roster of store events. Holli Rogers, chair of Browns, says: ‘Our new magical home will inspire customers as well as usher in a fundamental shift in the way people shop as layered into this connected, tech-enabled experience is a thoughtful and human side – which is so crucial in the current landscape where personalisation is pivotal.’

As we explore in Storefront Salvation, retailers are recognising the importance of digital innovation in store environments and combining physical touchpoints with technology.

Next shop-in-shops dig into the gardening boom

Homebase garden centre at Next, London Homebase garden centre at Next, London
Homebase garden centre at Next, London Homebase garden centre at Next, London

UK – DIY chain Homebase is bringing a shop-in-shop format to fashion retailer Next in a bid to reach green-fingered urbanites.

Opening in six Next stores across the UK – including Bristol, Sheffield and Ipswich – the small-format Homebase stores will sell a variety of garden products and plants, with team members on hand to provide expert advice. The move will make Homebase products more accessible to consumers returning to city centres, and supports Homebase’s wider push for more small-format outlets on British high streets.

The partnership also reflects increasing consumer interest in gardening, plant care and access to nature amid the pandemic. ‘We're a great nation of gardeners, with more and more people enjoying the benefits of gardening and being outside,’ says Damian McGloughlin, CEO of Homebase. ‘The launch of these new garden centres means we're able to offer more gardeners, both experienced and those just starting out, Homebase products in more locations across the country.'

With the retail sector facing an uncertain future, this partnership provides an example of how brands can work together to benefit one another. For more, delve into Epidemic Retail Futures.

Automotive design drives Bentley’s residences

Bentley Residences by Bentley Motors and Dezer, Miami Bentley Residences by Bentley Motors and Dezer, Miami

Miami – Car retailer Bentley is opening its first branded residential tower in Miami, translating automotive design into a liveable environment.

The Bentley Residences building is set to open in 2026 in Sunny Isles beach in Miami. Launched in partnership with property firm Dezer Development, the high-spec complex is built to suit the needs of luxury car owners, with an in-unit multi-car garage and a patented car elevator. Featuring more than 200 luxury apartments, the residential tower will also boast communal amenities such as a gym, spa, whisky bar and restaurant.

‘We curate experiences for our customers as soon as they [get into] a Bentley, and everything has been tailor-made to enhance the experience within the car: the drive, noise, sound, smell and materiality,’ says Chris Cooke, lead designer at Bentley. ‘They can walk into their apartment and have that same level of detail and design philosophy that can be carried into their entire lifestyle.’

Through this development, Bentley is showing how its brand values and quality can play out in luxury homes – joining other luxury Brandlords.

Stat: Meat-free foods to snatch market share in China

Novameat, Spain Novameat, Spain

Chinese demand for plant-based meat options is rising, according to a white paper by food company Xingqiling.

According to the company – which specialises in plant-based products – local demand in the sector could increase by 200% in the next five years as Chinese consumers embrace new tastes and products. As a result, Xingqiling forecasts that China’s meatless market will reach a value of £9.3bn ($13bn, €10.8bn) as soon as 2023. Looking further ahead, the company expects the market share of plant-based meat will grow to 10–25% of the global meat market over the next five to 20 years.

The research comes at a time when plant-based brands such as Beyond Meat are scaling up their operations in China in response to accelerating regional interest. Furthermore, this shift in mindset among Chinese consumers could have a significant positive impact on the environment by reducing emissions from livestock farming.

Read Next-generation Protein to explore the companies pioneering new ingredients that better mimic animal products.

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