New Balance Debuts London Store – WWD

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New Balance has opened a store at Westfield Stratford City in London, and the brand wants shoppers to have a seat to linger.

The Boston-based brand is flagging the new location as “a fresh retail concept” that is meant to put people, not products, at the center of the consumer experience. Shoppers need not fret. There are still plenty of sneakers and apparel for cardio-loving athletes and comfort-seeking loungers alike. With a few leather chairs in the center of the shop, the set-up is designed to relay a communal setting.

Instead of a slew of merchandise, London shoppers will find a tight assortment targeted to athletes and fashion influencers, and apparel that is geared for younger consumers. There is also information about the makers behind and the origins of various products. In a statement, Ian Fitzpatrick, senior director of global brand strategy and operations at New Balance, said, “The space is not built to tell all our stories, just those most relevant to our consumers — a shift that reflects our intention to invite new audiences to discover the brand, maybe for the first time.”

With the London outpost now welcoming customers, New Balance is preparing for a second location featuring the new concept in Boston.

The balance of sports and culture is something that other major brands like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are continually finetuning. New Balance’s sponsorship of the U.S. Open women’s single champion Coco Gauff helped to boost the company’s awareness, and earlier this year Aimé Leon Dore’s Teddy Santis was enlisted as the creative director of New Balance’s Made in America brand.

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