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Topshop Receives Criticism over Controversial Mannequin Display

· Displays

UK retailer Topshop is receiving a barrage of criticism over the use of ultra-thin mannequins. The retailer came under fire for its use of what customers deemed to be abnormally thin mannequins just two years ago and vowed to put a stop to the practice. The evident failure to do so has sparked a new round of criticism, with customers and several leading UK-based charities denouncing the brand across social media networks.

“It’s shocking to see the return of ultra-thin mannequins at Topshop, almost two years after the retailer said it will stop using them,” Denise Hatton, chief executive of the National Council of YMCAs and a founding partner of body image campaign Be Real, told the Telegraph. “Only ever seeing one body type in fashion advertising, particularly an extremely thin body type, risks creating an insidious pressure to attempt to become something we’re not. While many clothing brands and retailers have started to reflect society’s diversity in their advertising recently, reintroducing underweight mannequins back to the high street risks undoing all the great progress we’ve achieved over the last few years.”

This recent round of controversy was reportedly ignited when Zoe Mason, a mother out shopping with her daughters at the retailer, spotted the ultra-thin mannequins and posted a picture of them on social media with a scathing caption. The post has since been shared hundreds of times, garnering the brand a considerable amount of negative media attention.

Topshop has yet to publically comment on the criticism. In response to previous incidences, however, the company has defended its use of mannequins, saying that they aren’t supposed to represent real bodies. However, the company did make a promise to use more realistic-looking mannequins in 2014.

Overall, the incident illustrates how important it is for brands to be cognizant of the size of their mannequins. Failure to do so can alienate customers – and have a negative impact on a brand’s bottom line.

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Is the U.S. Retail Market Oversaturated?

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Times are tough for the retail sector, with an ever-increasing number of stores forced to shutter their doors and companies increasingly relying on sales and discounts to get customers through the door. While a lackluster retail market often is blamed on a lagging economy, according to some, this decline doesn’t have anything to do with the economy. Rather, the market is simply oversaturated.

“The U.S. market is oversaturated with retail space, and far too much of that space is occupied by stores selling apparel,” Richard Hayne, CEO of Urban Outfitters, said last week, going so far as to compare the decline of the retail sector to the housing industry crash in 2008. “Retail square feet per capita in the United States is more than six times that of Europe or Japan. And, this doesn’t count digital commerce. Our industry, not unlike the housing industry, saw too much square footage capacity added in the 1990s and early 2000s. Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst.” Haynes argued that because of this oversaturation, the trend will only get worse before it gets any better.

So, what is the solution to the problem? Well, many argue that the only way out of the predicament is more store closures. For example, a report published by Green Street Advisors in 2016 argued that department stores across the U.S. would need to close a total of 800 locations cumulatively, or about one-fifth of the current anchor space at malls across the U.S., to restore levels of productivity seen a decade ago.

The bottom line? There is no doubt that the retail market is suffering – and the industry as a whole will need to successfully make changes in order to stay profitable.

Quote source:

https://qz.com/928770/urban-outfitters-ceo-richard-hayne-says-us-retail-bubble-is-bursting-like-housing-in-2008/

 

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Are Digital Mannequins the Future of Retail?

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Are digital mannequins the mannequins of the future? According to some analysts, it is just a matter of time before these high-tech mannequins become the norm in shopping malls across the country. Although digital mannequins are just now starting to appear, they are already having quite an impact on the world of retail.

So, what exactly are digital mannequins? Well, digital mannequins, often known as virtual mannequins, are essentially a digitized version of a mannequin, as the name suggests. While there are different models and types of digital mannequins out there, a common model entails the use of a life-size laser cutout and digital projection. Available in either full body or half body, this creates the illusion of a real-life mannequin who can model clothing, greet your customers, or even provide instructions.

Digital mannequins present a number of unique benefits in that they are customizable and flexible. They can be programmed to say and do different things, and they can be programmed to respond to different cues from customers. For example, many have gender recognition and proximity sensors. Moreover, with the same digital mannequin across different branches of your store, it is easy to establish a consistent brand identity.

Although digital mannequins could very well be the mannequins of the future, it is important to note that they are still being developed and refined. The technology is still new and expensive at this point. Hopefully, as designs are refined and prices come down, digital mannequins will become much more mainstream.

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3-D Mannequins Help Surgeons in Training

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canstockphoto3135686

Mannequins are good for a lot more than just displaying clothing in store windows. Believe it or not, mannequins can help train surgeons. Specifically, high-tech 3-D mannequins are being engineered to provide surgeons in training a more realistic operating experience.

In order to gain enough experience to operate successfully on a living and breathing human being, surgeons need practice – and they need a lot of it. Mannequins have long been used to give surgeons in training the practice they need. But the problem is that these mannequins aren’t tremendously accurate and lack the detail of a real human body, which can make mastering the correct techniques a challenge. Infant mannequins, for example, are often not at all analogous to a real body, as infants have incredibly tiny bones that can be difficult to replicate in a realistic way.

Interestingly, mannequins printed using 3-D printing technology are helping rectify this problem. Eindhoven University of Technology grad student Mark Thielsen is using a network of 3-D printers to create prototype infant mannequins with more realistic organs and bones, including a 3-D printed heart with functioning valves that can expand and contract just like a real heart does as it pumps blood.

These high-tech mannequins even have cameras and sensors built into them so that the surgeon in training receives feedback in real-time as he or she goes about operating on the mannequin. This includes feedback on pressure, stress, and impact during trial procedures.

“Due to the extremely small sizes of neonatal organs, as well as their miniscule detail, the only way to create a mold for these parts was to 3-D print them. Without 3-D printing, this work would have been impossible,” Thielsen said. “The sheer complexity of human anatomy is very hard to recreate realistically with any other production method, not to mention the cost and time differences.”

Thielsen’s model is certainly promising and will hopefully be available to surgeons worldwide soon. And Thielsen hopes that his research will be applicable to helping train medical professionals for other procedures. “I believe that developing and advancing what we started here can aid medical research in a broader scope,” he said. “We could potentially create realistic patients models of other body parts to strengthen medical training for emergency procedures and pregnancies.”

Quote source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4279810/3D-printed-babies-replica-organs-medical-training.html

 

 

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How Millennials are Driving Changes for Retail Stores

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Millennials are changing the face of retail as we know it. Whereas previous generations hit the malls to find the best product at the best price, millennials are just as likely to look at shopping as a leisure activity more so than a goal-oriented activity. Subsequently, millennials are far more concerned with a store’s ability to provide them with a unique shopping experience than they are with the product that a store is selling.

This has led to significant changes in the world of retail. Perhaps most noticeable is the fact that because millennials are focusing on the shopping experience, sales at department stores have dropped $75 billion over the course of the past 20 years. In 1999, department stores saw total sales of around $230 billion but by 2016, numbers had declined dramatically to just $155 billion.

To millennials, department stores tend to be fairly cookie cutter. Instead, this generation would rather seek out unique products in trendy boutique stores. It is not just consumers that are running for the exits, but investors as well. Shares for Macy’s, one of the world’s most iconic department stores, are down 54 percent.

While department stores are struggling to stay relatively even keel as a result of millennials shopping habits and preferences, trendy boutique stores are thriving. As part of their emphasis on shopping experience, millennials want retail stores to be social and interactive places. Not only do they want displays to be interactive, they want the opportunity to sip on a latte and hang out. The shopping process for millennials is just as much about enjoying the store’s atmosphere, as it is about making a purchase.

The bottom line is that as the world of retail continues to evolve, retailers need to keep up with the pace of change. It is imperative that they consider millennials’ preferences, and in response, develop interactive and unique retail spaces that deliver a compelling experience along with great products.

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21 Retailers are Closing 3,591 Stores!

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Times are tough in the world of retail, as more and more consumers are buying online and traffic in retail stores is sparser. That means competition is fierce and balance sheets are suffering. Even reputable, well-established stores can’t afford to keep stores that aren’t performing well open – which means closures.

Payless Shoes, for example, is expected to close 1,000 stores in 2017, while Radio Shack is shuttering the doors of 552 stores. Even major department stores aren’t immune to the hard economic times, with Macy’s and J.C. Penney planning to close 63 and 138 stores respectively this year. Others on the list of 21 stores planning closures include Chico’s, American Apparel, Office Depot, Guess, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, and Sears. All in all, it is expected that at least 3,591 stores will close before 2017 draws to a close.

Essentially, we are now arriving at the point in the retail cycle where stores that aren’t turning a healthy profit can’t simply be carried on the books of good operating companies. If a store isn’t drawing in enough customers to get a healthy balance sheet, they will have to close. The stores to be closed will likely be the those with the lowest foot traffic, while stores in prominent malls or centrally located shopping centers are much better positioned to survive.

So, what can stores do to weather this storm? Well, the key is to get creative to get customers through the door. For example, J.C. Penney is working to revamp its stores to get more items in showrooms, add smart technology, and emphasize the products that consumers find most attractive. The bottom line is that getting consumers through store doors is ultimately the key to success and avoiding store closures, and the more creative brands can be in this respect, the better.

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Spring Cleaning Your Store – For Success

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Spring - Cleaning

Good news: spring is just around the corner. Spring doesn’t just bring more sunshine and warmer weather – it also brings a new shopping season. Customers increasingly get out and about, taking the opportunity to bulk up their spring and summer wardrobes. For retail stores looking to capitalize on spring, a great first step is a thorough spring cleaning. When it comes to spring cleaning your store, here is what you should keep in mind.

Declutter and Clean

First thing is first: when it comes to spring cleaning, you need to get rid of all of the clutter that may have accumulated in your store over the winter, and then give your store a deep clean. This includes dusting, scrubbing, and mopping!

Invest in New Fixtures

Take the time to examine all of your fixtures. Do you notice any damage? Any wear and tear? The reality is that store fixtures simply don’t last forever, and when your fixtures start to show signs of wear and tear, it can be an eyesore. Your best bet is to replace anything is worn or damaged with something new to ensure your store looks fresh and neat.

Put a Fresh Coat of Paint on the Walls

To give your store a fresh, clean look, just a little bit of paint can go a long way. Take advantage of spring cleaning to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. You might even consider going for something bright and bold.

Get New Mannequins

If you want customers to buy your new spring inventory, then you need a great place to display it. New mannequins can be an excellent addition to your store as you clean it out and get it ready for spring, and can help to ensure that you have an effective and appealing way to display new spring merchandise.

In conclusion, just a little bit of spring cleaning can go a long way in helping to make your store more appealing to customers this spring.

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The Most Durable Store Fixtures

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When purchasing store fixtures, it is important to investment in something that looks great, but also something that is high quality and extremely durable. The more durable your fixtures are, the better they wear and the longer they will last. So, what make a durable store fixture? Be sure to consider the following points.

  • Material: Store fixtures come in a range of different materials, including wood, plastic, laminate, and steel. If you need something durable, your best bet is to go for steel. It will wear the best, last the longest, and is less easily damaged than plastic or wood. High pressure laminate finish is another great option, which is also available in a range of different colors and finishes to match the décor of your store.
  • Strength: Different fixtures are designed to support different weights. If you are looking for something especially durable, it is important to get fixtures that are especially strong. For example, slatwalls, can be supported with metal inserts of varying strengths to improve the overall strength of the fixture. If you want your slatwalls to support heavy products, you will need to go for the heaviest inserts. Ultimately, this will depend on the types of products that you stock. For instance, large, heavy electronic items will need to be displayed on stronger fixtures than clothing.
  • Design: Some store fixture designs are more durable than others. While slatwall shelving and standalone shelving tend to be very durable and strong, waterfall displays are less so. Again, when choosing the type of fixtures that are most appropriate for your needs, you will need to consider the types of products that you will be displayed.

In conclusion, when buying store fixtures, it is never a good idea to cut corners. While it can be tempting to purchase one of the cheaper options on the market, your best bet is to invest in something that will last for years to come.

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Brexit’s Effect on the UK Fashion Industry

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The British fashion industry is a major contributor to the UK economy, directly contributing £28.1 billion to the UK GDP in 2015 and employing an estimated 880,000 people.

According to figures published by the British Fashion Council, the value of the British fashion industry is on the rise. In fact, the value of the sector rose from £26 billion in 2013 to £28 billion in 2016, an impressive 8 percent increase. However, there are concerns that such growth could be stymied by Brexit, particularly if negotiations do not go well.

If Britain were to lose access to the EU single market as a result of Brexit, British businesses would likely face tariffs on their exported goods into other European countries. The British fashion industry, specifically, could face additional tariffs of more than $1 billion after Brexit.

For example, the Guardian estimated that the customs bill for non-knitted clothing exported from the UK to Italy could alone be $30.8 million per year. That could spell trouble for British firms that rely on exports to Italy to stay in business.

However, others are confident that the industry will be able to weather any storms caused by Brexit. “I’m not worried at all. I think London and British fashion is growing and I think that London is a great city for creativity and I think it’ll be absolutely fine,” fashion designer Anya Hindmarch told CNBC at London Fashion Week in late February.

Ultimately, Brexit’s true impact on the UK fashion industry will only become clear as negotiations proceed. A hard exit will mean more tariffs for the industry, whereas a soft exit, in which Britain still has access to the EU single market, may make things easier for the industry. Only time will tell how things will ultimately play out.

Quote source:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/20/in-a-post-brexit-world-fashion-industry-puts-on-a-brave-face-despite-uncertainty.html

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Sports Mannequins Help To Capitalize on the Ever-Growing Market for Sports Apparel

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Sports Mannequins

Sports Apparel Mannequins

According to research conducted by Euromonitor International, the global apparel market grew by an impressive 4 percent in 2016 and is now worth a staggering $1.7 million. Interestingly, however, the analysis found that much of this growth was actually fuelled by growth in the sportswear sector of the market, which grew by a healthy 7 percent. In fact, without growth in this sector, the market could have possibly shrunk.

Demand For Sports Apparel Grows

Across the globe, demand for sports apparel is growing, and it is actually acting a buoy for the entire apparel industry. This goes beyond just performance sportswear and also includes sports-inspired apparel, which can be described as both trendy and comfortable, oriented more towards daily wear as opposed to athletic training. For example, this category includes apparel put out by major sports giants like Nike and Adidas in collaboration with major designers. These kinds of apparel choices are now much more widely available and now have a wider selection and more availability, which is arguably the driving force behind this growth. This growth is pronounced in core markets like the US, which is reportedly seeing record sport-inspired growth, and emerging markets like Thailand and India.

Sports Mannequins for In-Store Promotion

As the demand for sports apparel continues to grow, sports mannequins are an excellent way for retailers’ to highlight the sports apparel they have in stock and set themselves apart from competitors. Customers like sports apparel because it offers them the comfort that more traditional forms of apparel don’t, but it is still attractive and stylish. While many retailers choose to display sports apparel on standard mannequins, sports mannequins can help customers to better envision the appeal of sports apparel and highlight how it can be used for both sports purposes, whether a jog or a yoga class, and still look great when running errands around town. Ultimately, if you sell sports apparel, sports mannequins are an excellent investment.

For more information, or to view our available sports mannequins, please visit www.subastralinc.com/sports-mannequins

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