House of Fraser to launch multichannel hub in Caffe Nero

Department store chain House of Fraser will open a new multichannel concept store within a Caffe Nero coffee shop in Cambridge, as the retailer looks to further extent its multichannel offering.

Set to be unveiled on 16 October 2014, the first-of-its-kind initiative will give customers a chance to order online from House of Fraser while they enjoy a coffee as well as use the location as a click & collect hub.

The Fitzroy Street store has evolved from House of Fraser's original online store, which opened in Aberdeen three years ago, and will see the retailer's tablet devices and touchscreens placed on tables in the coffee shop's ground floor.

On the first floor, House of Fraser will have a branded 'front of house' which includes till points for customer collections, a product showcase, order-in-store terminals and a fitting room. The store will also incorporate Iconme's beacon mannequins, which use proximity marketing technology to engage with customers through their mobile devices, echoing a recent move at House of Fraser's Aberdeen outlet.

Staff offering a personal shopper service will also be on site to serve visiting customers.

Andy Harding, executive director of multichannel at House of Fraser, said: "We have a high density of online shoppers within Cambridge postcodes, so having a physical brand presence was an obvious move.

"As part of our expansion plans we are keen to increase our physical footprint, especially in towns and cities where a store isn't present. With a growing café culture and more customers shopping on the go with mobile devices, we believe we're providing our customers with an innovative solution which meets the needs of today's busy consumer."

Earlier this week House of Fraser said that its like-for-like sales in the six months to 26 July were up 4.3% year on year.

Online revenue for the period increased 29% to represent 14.2% of total sales, with the retailer saying that the opening eight weeks of its third quarter have also seen encouraging sales growth.

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