Lush drive for larger spaces sees it mulling ex-HoF, Debenhams sites

Lush’s success with larger-format stores is leading it to look at former Debenhams and House of Fraser sites as possible spaces into which it can expand, a report said on Monday.

The campaigning beauty products company had previously opened a mega-sized store in Liverpool covering three floors and including a spa, perfume library and hair lab. This seems to have gone well with founder and CEO Mark Constantine saying further big stores could open as a way to show off the full offer in the best environment.

He told Retail Week that he sees potential to increase the number of stores that are designed along the same lines as the 15,000 sq ft site. Calling the Liverpool location “basically a department store,” he said that in theory, he’d like the entire chain to be stores of that kind.

He added that he would be interested in a lot of the sites that are being made vacant by the restructuring processes at Debenhams and House of Fraser, but also suggested that he’d expect landlords to work with the company to achieve appropriate rent deals.

The ambition for a larger-format chain comes as the company opens a small number of bigger stores internationally too. Key to this have been the openings of its Shinjuku, Tokyo location and its Munich store in Germany.

Overall, the company has almost 1,000 locations globally and while that number has remain fairly constant in recent years, its overall floor space is growing as bigger shops are the focus of its physical store strategy.

That’s encouraging news for retail landlords who are finding it a challenge to fill the giant spaces left empty by struggling department stores. However, as mentioned, it’s unlikely that new tenants would be prepared to pay premium rents in the current UK retail circumstances.