Newcastle’s Calvin Klein Underwear and Urban Outfitters stores take shape

CKU window poster (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

CKU window poster (8 Aug 2011)

While the rescue of Newcastle’s TJ Hughes store ensures that the value stretch of Grainger Street retains its retail anchor, work is also progressing well on the more upmarket developments at the street’s Monument end.

In the unit freed up by Kurt Geiger’s move to Eldon Square, the new Calvin Klein Underwear (CKU) store was being stocked when I walked past this morning, suggesting that its opening is imminent. This makes sense, given that the shop’s window poster claims that it will open in ‘August 2011′, but there’s no information as yet on the CKU website’s store locator page.

Calvin Klein Underwear and Urban Outfitters sites, Newcastle (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Calvin Klein Underwear and Urban Outfitters sites, Newcastle (8 Aug 2011)

While CK underwear is ubiquitous in high-end fashion stores such as House of Fraser, John Lewis, Debenhams and Asos, one thing I hadn’t realised is quite how few standalone CKU shops there currently are in the UK. The CKU website’s store locator lists just six dedicated stores in Europe, all in the UK – three in London, and one each in Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow – though there’s definitely a recently opened one in Cardiff too. Still, having CKU coming to Newcastle is quite a coup, and reinforces the city’s reputation as one of the country’s top retail locations.

Management positions at Urban Outfitters, Newcastle (17 Aug 2011)

Management positions at Urban Outfitters, Newcastle (17 Aug 2011)

Next door, work to transform the old Green Market and adjacent former Jigsaw unit into the North East’s first branch of Urban Outfitters is also well underway. Management positions at the store are currently being advertised on the Urban Outfitters website, which claims that the shop will be opening “this autumn”. The roles on offer – including managers for Womenswear, Menswear, Women’s Accessories and Housewares – also provide some clues regarding the categories that the store will stock.

Compared to CKU, Urban Outfitters has a slightly more extensive UK store estate so far – 16 stores, according to its website, of which four are in London – but again, it’s a positive sign that Newcastle has secured the retailer ahead of other major centres such as Nottingham, Norwich, Leicester or Reading.

Jaeger, Newcastle (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Jaeger, Newcastle (8 Aug 2011)

One thing that remains to be seen, of course, is how far the opening of these and other top fashion stores (such as the recent arrival of Jaeger) marks the beginning of a new higher-end retail cluster in the city.

Market Street, Newcastle, in 2000. Photograph by Graham Soult

Market Street, Newcastle, in 2000

We’ve seen it before, a decade ago, when the arrival of fashion stores such as Jigsaw Menswear, Hobbs, Envy and Kookai encouraged the Grainger Town Project to herald Market Street as the ‘Bond Street of the North’. However, the letting of the nearby anchor unit to TJ Hughes – rather than the Harvey Nichols or Selfridges that had been originally hoped – rather undermined that vision. Of the fashion retailers that set up back then in Market Street, none remain today.

However, if a successful Urban Outfitters store can be the “high quality fashion” anchor for Grainger Town that TJ Hughes never has been, Newcastle might yet be able to develop its very own ‘Bond Street’.

6 Responses to “Newcastle’s Calvin Klein Underwear and Urban Outfitters stores take shape”

  1. Soult's Retail View » One of the oldest and one of the newest: ex-Woolies spotting in North Somerset said:

    Aug 22, 11 at 19:06

    [...] recent weeks, new developments in Newcastle, the collapse of TJ Hughes and the ongoing conversion of ex-Netto stores have given me plenty of [...]

  2. Soult's Retail View » Newcastle’s Urban Outfitters is unwrapped ahead of 9 December opening said:

    Nov 29, 11 at 14:03

    [...] Newcastle’s upcoming Urban Outfitters store has been tantalisingly hidden behind orange boards for over a month – including when I passed by last week – but the shop’s frontage has now been unwrapped ahead of its opening a week on Friday (9 December). [...]

  3. Soult's Retail View » What does 2012 hold for Newcastle city centre? said:

    Jan 04, 12 at 19:24

    [...] So, what of the Monument Mall development itself? My understanding is that the new units are likely to be trading in time for Christmas 2013, and that Hammerson’s focus is on attracting niche retailers that will complement and reinforce the emerging Urban Outfitters-anchored high-end cluster around Grey’s Monument. [...]

  4. Soult's Retail View » As BHS arrives in Newcastle, G-Star Raw and Thorntons depart said:

    Apr 09, 12 at 20:20

    [...] by passing shoppers. Equally, as the city’s high-end fashion stores start to cluster around Grey’s Monument and the St Andrew’s Way end of Eldon Square, it’s possible that G-Star would fit in [...]

  5. Soult's Retail View » Hammerson reveals Armani and Jamie’s Italian for Newcastle’s Monument Mall – then deletes it said:

    Jul 27, 12 at 16:49

    [...] – such as Hotel Chocolat, The North Face and Urban Outfitters – that have recently started to cluster around Grey’s Monument. Monument Mall, Newcastle (16 Apr [...]

  6. Soult's Retail View » Newcastle roundup: retail lettings remain active as Cath Kidston signs and Office expands said:

    Aug 20, 12 at 21:55

    [...] opposite Urban Outfitters, which currently houses the footwear brand Office. Office, in turn, is following Kurt Geiger in moving to larger premises in Eldon Square, and is taking the spot at 14-16 Blackettbridge [...]

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