Covent Garden to reopen next week, upscale stores to add new services
London landlord Capco will reopen Covent Garden for shopping on June 15 with all the social distancing and hygiene measures in place that consumers have come to expect for reopening programmes. And there will also be new services on offer as retailers aim to innovate to attract cautious consumers and drive permanent change too.
Retailers opening on Monday will include Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury, Dior and Tiffany & Co, all of which have optimised their stores in line with UK government guidelines on social distancing. Measures in place include marked queuing systems, signage to help control the shopper flow and hand sanitiser.
It’s interesting, given the large number of high-end beauty retailers and luxury and premium fashion names in the shopping neighbourhood, that stores are recognising shoppers will want something extra too. Capco said there will be a number of “innovative retail experiences with some of its fashion and beauty stores trialling new social-distanced customer services”.
They’ll be offering customers “both a safe physical experience as well as digitally enhanced shopping,” Capco added. Examples include Mulberry offering both one-on-one and virtual store appointments; Tiffany offering a dedicated concierge service, one-to-one tailored appointments, accompanied browsing, and virtual styling sessions; and Charlotte Tilbury running a click/call-and-collect service. The make-up brand is also looking to host masterclasses over Zoom in the weeks ahead.
Just as the lockdown has accelerated the adoption of digital for some previously-reluctant consumers, it has driven innovation too. It’s likely that such services will be seen more often now and will be added by retailers at a faster rate than they would have been without the pandemic.
As well as all this, a new one-way system has been introduced into Covent Garden’s Market Building, alongside social distancing signage, to ensure shoppers can continue to enjoy the landmark setting safely. An estate-wide uniform approach to queuing has been introduced, and hand sanitiser stations will be available across the estate.
Given that Covent Garden is as much a location to hang out in as well as to shop, a new public seating area is being installed for visitors to the Piazza, “allowing shoppers to sit within the historic area in safe, social distanced spacing, ahead of al fresco restaurants opening in the coming weeks”. This, alongside the rest of the estate, will be cleaned regularly each day.
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