Best brands and iron girders for new Eldon Square Republic store
With exciting mounting over the opening of Eldon Square’s St Andrew’s Way extension in less than a week’s time (10:30 on Tuesday 16 February, to be precise), it really feels as if Newcastle is the centre of the UK’s retail attention right now.
Searches for ‘Hollister Newcastle’ have been dominating my blog stats for weeks, while yesterday, Apple’s official announcement of its new store opening turned ‘Eldon Square’ into a trending topic on Twitter. The arrival of these big US names has undoubtedly created a real buzz around what was, only a few months ago, a development featuring plenty of existing Newcastle retailers opening much-improved stores but very few new arrivals to the city.
With so much attention focused on Hollister and Apple Store, it would be easy to overlook the impressive new stores in St Andrew’s Way for retailers such as Topshop, New Look and Republic, all of which will have much larger and more modern shops than at present.
I was therefore pleased to receive a press release today about the “eagerly awaited” new Republic store, which is apparently 8,392 sq ft, and has been “designed in Republic’s ‘utilitarian meets kitsch’ imitable style” (that should be ‘inimitable’, surely?), with “a striking fascia framed with iron girders, exposed brick and pipe work and natural materials offset by candy coloured chandeliers and metallic, flocked wallpapers”. I’ve never stepped foot in a Republic store before, but I might be tempted to take a look if only to admire the chandeliers.
Indeed, though Leeds-based Republic refers to itself in the press release as “the UK’s leading retailer of men’s and women’s branded fashion”, it isn’t a retail name that I know very much about – perhaps because I’m outside its target demographic for “big brand names such as Henleys, Fenchurch, Diesel G-Star and Bench”. Still, Republic’s “unique model”, featuring a “carefully edited selection of ‘best of season’ styles and an extensive denim offering” must be doing the trick, given that it’s grown from a single store in 1986 to more than 100 across the UK now.
Jacob Snell, Republic’s Regional Manager, is quoted as saying that: “We’ve wanted to expand in Newcastle city centre for a long period of time and Eldon Square is a great opportunity. We have a fantastic, loyal customer base in the North East who we’re looking forward to presenting our exciting new shop fit and store design to”. Assuming that Republic’s existing store in Douglas Way is to close when the new one opens (though the press release doesn’t say so explicitly), it will be interesting to see who takes over the vacated unit. In quite a prominent spot close to John Lewis, it’s certainly among the most attractive of those sites that are being freed up.
Having managed to weave most of the content from Republic’s press release into my blog post, it would be remiss of me not to mention that customers “will be able to take advantage of opening offers and promotions including an impressive 20% off discount in store” – possibly a less stressful option than joining the nearby throng for one of 1,500 free Apple T-shirts.