Essential Retail's festive retail design round-up 2019

Christmas is a key trading period for retailers. Dazzling light displays and celebrity events are expected at key shopping venues. But lights aren't the only way to celebrate. Here is Essential Retail's round-up of attractions.

Nappa Dori in Seven Dials
Nappa Dori in Seven Dials

Property group Shaftesbury arranged for the switching-on of its Christmas lights at Seven Dials in central London to coincide with the judging of a 'Starry Night' window design competition. The competition ties in with the theme of this year's Christmas lights at Seven Dials, which are themselves part of a partnership with homelessness charity Shelter.

A host of stores, such as jeweller Tatty Devine, showed off festive cheer in their windows. Indian luggage and accessories brand Nappa Dori styled its window to feature the design and craftsmanship inherent in its products, in a Christmas tree formation, set off with themed window decals.

Tatty Devine in Seven Dials
Tatty Devine in Seven Dials

Karen Baines, head of group marketing & communications at Shaftesbury commented on the Christmas displays this year: “Seven Dials’ retailers are renowned for their bespoke, inviting storefronts all year round, but seeing the tenants collaborate to support this year’s wider ‘Starry Night’ campaign in aid of Shelter has encouraged healthy competition across the destination to create some beautiful window displays and highlights the true community spirit across Seven Dials.”

Choosing Keeping in Seven Dials
Choosing Keeping in Seven Dials

Seasonal pop-up stores have been much in evidence this year. Classic Football Shirts (CFS) is among those to join the trend with its latest pop-up, a branch designed to capitalise on the Christmas gifting season.

Classic Football Shirts
Classic Football Shirts

The store, developed with pop-up specialist Storefront, is located on Poland Street in London's Soho. It will trade until early January 2020, with a 'mini-museum' format designed to appeal to a well-informed customer base.

“The reason for the success of the pop-up for CFS is that although online is a first response with our brand offering, it very often leads to online followers coming into our stores. These are essentially fully immersive and experiential places for fans - and nothing like this exists anywhere else,” said CFS store manager Ciaran Gold.

Merry Elephant
Merry Elephant

Elephant Park in South London has opened the 'Merry Elephant' pop-ups to transform the newly-opened Sayer Street and Deacon Street into a mini Winter Wonderland. Developer Lendlease worked with Southwark Council on the initiative, which includes The Gift Shop by SoLo Craft Fair, which promotes independent retailers, and the Good Elf, which provides tree decoration and delivery services.

A festive selfie booth will offer personalised Christmas cards, and many of the permanent retailers on the streets are running seasonal events and promotions. A Colourwave Christmas light installation on Sayer Street uses an array of colour changing LED lights that will change from blue and purple tones earlier in the season, to orange and peach hues in late January.

“Christmas is a time for celebrating with friends and family, and at Elephant Park we wanted to create an exciting offer for the local community that would champion our new independent shopping street and long-term commitment to Elephant and Castle. We have created a vibrant and diverse festive experience that will highlight and complement our newly opened businesses and also bring new visitors to Sayer Street,” said Lendlease head of retail Guy Thomas.

Bootique pop-up in Liverpool
Bootique pop-up in Liverpool

Meanwhile, shoppers at Liverpool ONE were able to visit a pop-up 'Bootique' from Boots, which provided gifts for people who have trouble sleeping – said to be a problem for 54% of people in Liverpool.

Kings Road mural
Kings Road mural

On the King's Road, Christmas is a time for the celebration of art. A community-based project, sponsored by The Sloane Stanley Estate – which manages many of the commercial and residential properties in the area – unveiled its latest street art installation in mid December.

The festive scene is the seventh mural to appear on the King’s Road this year. It features a forest scene with skating rink alongside a warming winter hearth, by artist Antonio Rodrigues Jnr.

Kings Road mural
Kings Road mural

Located next to the Chelsea Fire Station, the project has been sponsored by Sloane Stanley since its inception. The project is managed by Sarah Farrugia, managing director of The Fabric. “We recognised the potential for a street art project, within an area that had previously been left to gather leaves and debris,” she said. “Within three weeks it was transformed into a place for the community and visitors to stand and watch live art and to have chance conversations. Working with Sloane Stanley, this has been a well-received regeneration of a part of King’s Road, it has given visitors something to enjoy and the artists freedom that large-scale murals allow. There are already plans for the next two in 2020.”