The Intersport store in Lincoln city centre has traded successfully for 30 years. However, the old store had become tired and, although it performed well, had suffered from underinvestment. As with many older buildings on the high street, the store had been added to over the years and the challenge was to strip it back to the bare bones and start again.
Typical of a project of this type, there were a number of surprises uncovered, but nothing that couldn’t be dealt with. The size and scale of the store, which covered 5,500 sq ft, offered an opportunity to create a powerful retail environment.
James Hornsby, the store’s proprietor, stated at the start of the project: “The time is right, with the turnaround in the economy and how our business is performing, to make the investment and bring the store back to life.”
The Intersport group has worked across Europe with its store concept, which launched initially in 2010 and has continued to evolve and expand through all major European countries. The Lincoln store is the first one to fully embrace the concept in the UK and saw a complete revamp over a five-week period in the summer of 2014, reopening in June ready for the key back-to-school season.
The interior was gutted and refitted with fresh white fixtures and clear category areas featuring Intersport’s classic blue lighting to highlight key displays. The category areas have clear graphic call-outs to bring the sports and new products to life, while the trial zones allow customers to try products before buying them, such as in running, which offers full gait analysis and access to a treadmill.
The storefront has also been changed. The new premium fascia reflects the brand position, each window has a focus graphic treatment that’s regularly updated to highlight the latest new product and campaign launches, while the product highlight area allows clear sight into the store - inviting the consumer to come in and see more.
The new-look store reflects the five key pillars Intersport focuses on in order to be the key performance sports retail destination:
• Store design - exciting and inspired shopping environment.
• Product assortment - specialised and competent ranges.
• Staff - passionate, enthusiastic and competent sales team to deliver sport to the people.
• Service - outstanding and distinctive, with expert sports advice.
• Activation - to motivate consumers to practise more sports.
The product collections on the shop floor are less dense and support from suppliers through exclusive distribution with key lines positions the store as a performance specialist with a point of difference. This approach to elevating categories has seen an increase in footfall, turnover and, most importantly, realised margins. The women’s areas has seen a significant increase in interest due to the improved store environment, combined with new specific collections and brands offering a defined, focused range.
The full category approach at retail is the future and is being embraced across Intersport stores to great effect. In many instances, remerchandising a store using a clear category approach has seen an instant increase in business with the same product offering, as it has given customers a clear presentation of all products with a product category from footwear to apparel and equipment.
The new Lincoln store’s aim is to inspire every visitor, make them enthusiastic and passionate about sport and offer an outstanding shopping experience that will bring them back to the store again and again. Fast approaching its first full year of trading, it looks like that goal has been achieved.