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Habitat returns to Brighton with new flagship store

Habitat has opened its new city centre store in Brighton. The 604 sq m (6,500 sq ft) store is the first standalone city branch launched by the homewares retailer for ten years.

Located on North Street, in the Hannington Estate development, the store has been designed by Habitat’s in-house team. It stocks more than 3,000 products, and is the third largest store in Habitat’s current portfolio.

“This is our first city-centre flagship store for 10 years so a really exciting development for Habitat and an example of how we’re evolving store formats and services to suit how customers are shopping for homewares,” says Habitat managing director Clare Askem.

“As our digital sales go from strength to strength, we’re also seeing customers who want to shop in an immersive environment and touch and feel the Habitat products we create,” adds Askem. “Our long heritage with Brighton means we have many fans who have been asking us to return with a city centre store, so we felt that to launch our first inspirational flagship environment would really work here… We’re now looking forward to making this store a real design hub for Brighton by creating an inspiration atmosphere in which to shop with regular local collaborations and customer workshops to hero the creative spirit of the city.”

The store has a stripped-back industrial feel, with raw concrete surfaces and exposed piping. A central cobalt blue stairwell with glass balustrade allows shoppers to see down into the basement level as they arrive. A dramatic light installation is suspended above.

Oak flooring is used throughout the store, except for a checkerboard tile finish in an installation space between the store’s windows.

“It’s been important for us to give each new store a unique personality that feels relevant to the building and location it’s in but with each project we’ve created a very pure white base that will really showcase the products, colour and bold pattern we create,” says Habitat senior designer Matthew Long.

“The interior design here is stripped right back so that there are minimal visual distractions – no large digital screens, imposing fixtures or dramatic architectural details so that customers focus on the products themselves. The layout too has been designed to draw you down towards the larger basement level to see the wider collection, so we’ve incorporated glass surrounds for light flow, light oak flooring, a lighting installation and the dramatic blue handrail to as you enter the store to immediately make you aware that there is more to explore downstairs,” Long adds.

Minimalist shelving with pared-back frame, open shelves, and table tops are used to display products. “We’ve aimed to punctuate the journey through the whole store with drops of exciting and colourful collections which reflect us at our most Habitat,” says visual merchandising manager Amy Rich. “Long tables with heavily stacked product give a market place feel, encouraging customers to touch and feel products and are ideal for the customer who like to take time to shop and make their creative decision, especially with our handcrafted products which differ from piece to piece.”