LONDON — The new Battersea Power Station development has proven a magnet for international brands, inspiring them to spread their wings, test new retail formats, and occupy larger spaces than they would in the city centre.
Zara is one brand that’s taken the leap and opened its most advanced retail concept to date rivaling even its newest stores in Madrid and Porto.
The new store is housed in a Frank Gehry building across from the refurbished power station on a pedestrian street called Electric Boulevard.
The store features the latest technology innovations from Zara’s integrated online and physical store platform, and looks more like a luxury department store than the average Zara outpost, with airy interiors, lots of blond and natural wood and a spacious shop floor.
Sam Cotton, head of leasing at Battersea Power Station, says the enthusiasm of Zara’s parent company Inditex for the project grew as the power station development began to take shape.
Cotton says Zara committed to 20,000 square feet a few years ago. On Oct. 14, it opened a space spanning more than 48,000 square feet over two floors.
Last month, during a quarterly results update, Inditex CEO Oscar García Maceiras highlighted the upcoming Battersea Power Station opening as an example of how the company wants to position Zara as more of an upscale fashion brand and burnish its reputation.
The fixtures and merchandising are more Harrods than high street, and there are separate departments for lingerie, footwear and accessories and babies aged 9 to 12 months. Some of those dedicated areas have their own stock rooms, dressing rooms and tills.
Until now, lingerie has only been available online. The Zara collection includes pajamas, underwear, dresses and bodysuits made from silk, alpaca, wool and cotton. Finishes are made from light tulle, lace and satin.
An area spanning 4,300 square feet is dedicated to Zara Home. Customers can choose from different qualities of cotton bedding; browse cookware displayed in a show kitchen, and shop for vases, candles and coffee-table books.
The brand has already installed a Christmas shop, complete with an electric train zipping around a snowy mountain.
People can pay-and-go using the Zara app, prebook a fitting room, and collect online orders in the space of two hours. Shoppers can also try on their orders in-store, and immediately send them back via postal facilities built into the store.
Zara is also offering the chance to leave boxes and packaging in-store, or take their merchandise home in secondhand boxes.
Inditex is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2040, and in line with the company’s overall strategy, the new store has energy-saving LED lighting.
Zara Battersea is also connected to Inditex’s internal Inergy platform, which monitors the efficient consumption of the stores’ air-conditioning and electricity installations in order to optimize their management, identify the most efficient systems, improve maintenance and help define strategies to reduce energy demand.