Nice Tucci you again

Reopened Tucci store in Newcastle

Reopened Tucci store in Newcastle

Wandering along Newcastle’s Grainger Street yesterday afternoon, I was quite surprised to see that the old Tucci fashion store – which closed down probably several months ago – is now trading again in its former premises.

Whatever the rationale for the change of heart (and there’s some discussion/speculation about that here), it’s clearly a positive move in that it brings one of Grainger Street’s longest retail frontages back into use – while Tucci has been closed, it has really looked very blank indeed.

Even with Tucci’s return, however, the retail fortunes of the Grainger Street and Market Street area are looking a little fragile. On the other side of the road, three prominent units stand empty next door to each other – the former Karen Millen and Kookai stores (the latter empty since early 2006), and another unit that, apart from being occupied for a couple of months each year by The Xmas Box, has not had a tenant since being refurbished as part of the Grainger Town Project several years ago. Nearby, the former Millets and Coast units have been empty since earlier this year, while the former Thomas Cook site, next to Greggs, must have been vacant for the best part of a decade.

Vacant stores in Grainger Street

Vacant stores in Grainger Street

It’s hard to know how far this is a Newcastle city centre problem. After all, many of these voids reflect the wider fortunes of the retailers concerned – such as Kookai’s administration; Baugur’s woes in the wake of the Icelandic banking collapse; or Blacks Leisure Group’s exit from the boardwear market, and the consequent rationalisation of its portfolio. However, with the news that Oasis and All Saints are to open in Eldon Square South – raising question marks over their existing Market Street stores in the old Binns block – the area’s never entirely convincing aspiration to be the ‘Bond Street of the North’ is looking decidedly shaky.

Incidentally, Tucci’s reappearance in Grainger Street prompted me to take a look at the retailer’s website and online store. Its predominance of black is perhaps a little cliched, and some of the pages I looked at had missing image files; generally, however, the site’s not too bad, benefiting from a sensible layout and a useful zoom function that allows visitors to view detailed photographs of the available products.

One glaring omission, though – and something that could well be added to my post about expectations of retail websites – is the absence of a list of physical store locations and opening times. The ‘about us’ page only mentions job vacancies, while the ‘contact us’ page makes reference to ‘high street stores’ but fails to say where they are. A visit to the sitemap confirms that no list of stores appears to be provided.

The Newcastle Tucci store may therefore have reopened, but anyone browsing the Tucci website would be none the wiser – an oversight that should surely be addressed.

4 Responses to “Nice Tucci you again”

  1. Soult's Retail View» Blog Archive » A busy day for retail – M&S, Blacks, and giving GIVe a look said:

    Sep 30, 09 at 21:56

    [...] day is pretty impressive. Recognising the synergies between bricks and clicks, the site - unlike others I could mention – also gets brownie points for featuring a list of GIVe store locations, complete with opening [...]

  2. Soult's Retail View» Blog Archive » Three-storey retail tenant “secured” to replace Newcastle’s Green Market said:

    Jan 25, 10 at 00:52

    [...] Street? If so, this would be a signiicant shot in the arm for Grainger Town, given that it has seemed to be struggling of [...]

  3. Gabbyco said:

    Aug 29, 10 at 13:26

    I think on a separate note this just goes to show how fickle retailers are. Jaeger had a concession and a store in Canterbury in the late 80′s which then saw the store close in the late 80′s and converted in to a boots before before becoming a shop for the cathedral. When Canterbury’s Whitefriars reopened Jaeger returned to the city on another site opposite it’s former previous store. Again, it kept it’s concession on in Fenwick in Canterbury. Now, the store has shut again in Canterbury and is for sale.

    Retailers come and go, sometimes locations don’t work or the demand isn’t there as I am sure you know anyway when there is a downturn.

    Intersting blogg though as I have never heard of Tucci and I lived in London for years

  4. Soult's Retail View » Newcastle’s Millets among the 89 stores to be closed said:

    Feb 15, 12 at 12:31

    [...] site late in 2008, Millets moved down the street from its former site at numbers 121-127. As I noted last week, the former Millets store remains empty, meaning that Grainger Street will have the unusual feature [...]

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