Amanda French, head of retail at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP

Positive sign for the high street as the beauty brand, Avon, opens stores

As part of our 2023 Retail Week coverage, in association with Metrocentre, we hear from the beauty brand Avon which has announced it will open a small number of physical stores for the first time in its 137-year history.

Retail experts say the move is a great sign for the high street and that the ‘omni-channel’ trend of consumerism is continuing to grow.

Amanda French, head of retail at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP said: “It is so exciting to see new entrants into the high street, and even more so when it is a well-established and loved brand. Retail and consumerism are here to stay, it is just the format that is changing.

“For a long time, the phrase “omni-channel” has been used, and this move by Avon demonstrates that it is not a one size fits all, omni-channel will look very different for the different retailers. It all comes down to consumer demands and trends, as well as staying ahead of competition.

“Amazon and Gymshark are examples of brands demonstrating how bricks and mortar will work for “online” retailers in certain locations, for certain product ranges. All these brands are trying to be “different” and to standout when it comes to physical shops, and I suspect that Avon will need to do likewise.”

Historically Avon has relied on its sales reps, largely women, who go door-to-door or arrange parties in people’s homes. The move to the high street, Avon says, comes as more women go out to work and they want to make the service as convenient as possible.

The beauty giant plans to open a handful of shops initially, run as franchises by sales reps, but the locations have so far not been disclosed. It is hoped that the stores will encourage a ‘halo effect’, meaning they will help customers choose products that they later continue to buy from sales reps and online.

Amanda French continued: “The “halo” effect that Avon refer to will be utilised by many of our favourite brands with the exact locations depending on the product and customer base. There is no doubt that a physical store allows a retailer to provide an “experience” and directly connect with their community that even the best virtual and online platforms simply cannot do.

“We have helped many of our retail clients significantly change the size and locations of their store portfolios over recent years and move into new sales channels whether that is via apps and websites, concession arrangements, or licensing/partnership deals.

“It is the evolution of the retailers that make them some of the most challenging but best clients to have. With the likes of Avon, Amazon and Gymshark moving to bricks and mortar, it really is exciting times for retail generally!”

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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