The new Nickelodeon store in London’s Leicester Square opens to the public tomorrow, and Toy World was given a sneak peek ahead of its launch. John Baulch reports…
After a refit which has taken the past 9 months, the two floor unit on the corner of Leicester Square, next to the popular M&M store, has been transformed into a cutting edge piece of retail theatre which showcases Nickelodeon’s brands to full effect.
The compact ground floor area is dedicated to a range of London-specific souvenir merchandise, predominantly featuring Spongebob Squarepants and the gang. All of these products are bespoke designs and unique to the new store, and the product mix seems ideal for the mix of tourists and domestic visitors who will make up the store’s clientelle.
Heading up the stairs, the use of multimedia screens, projections and graphics highlights the fact that the store is a showcase for some of the entertainment world’s most-popular brands. The overall feel of the store is upmarket with a strong emphasis on design and retail theatre, both in terms of the retail architecture and product mix. The floor space is divided into a series of mini ‘shop in shop’ areas, each focusing on a particular brand or product segment. These areas are interspersed with some standout features, including the Spongebob i-pad bar – which will allow kids to play with games and apps on i-pads – and a Dora the Explorer colouring bar, where younger children can colour in pictures. The mix of tech and traditional blends seamlessly, helping to create an environment which will appeal to the whole family, from infant to grown-up.
The merchandise reflects the broad generational appeal, with products catering for the whole age spectrum. Around 80% of the products are produced by Nickelodeon’s retail partner SRI, with the other 20% being sourced from local and global licensees. The apparel category is strongly represented, but there is also a healthy presence for toys and related categories. Overall, Spongebob is anticipated to be the store’s best-seller, but a broad spread of Nickelodeon properties are represented and seasonal products will also form a key part of the product mix.
If you’re in Leicester Square over the coming weeks, I can heartily recommend a visit – but expect a far more crowded environment than the one I experienced on yesterday’s pre-opening tour. If you’re not planning to be in London any time soon, I’ll be including an in-depth review of the store in the July issue of Toy World.