Clicks to Bricks

I am grateful to Des Lim at Bates Asia for sending me an interesting thought piece on 5 key areas that are changing consumers shopping behaviour. It started life as a retrospective look at some of the key trends that emerged in 2007 but like all good thinking it became clear to author Eric Chua that a higher order, bigger picture was emerging. A new kind of shopper who was confident on-line and whose experiences there were significantly impacting attitudes and expectations of retail stores and the development of a retail eco system.

Take a look yourself and download here.

Download from_clicks_to_bricks.pdf



The Store Goes To India


Few and Far

The big guys always get the airtime so it is good to be able to redress the balance just a bit. It is always interesting to hear of a new retail concept that has its ambitions firmly set on having just one single store. But that is the vision of Few and Far.

 Owned and run by Priscilla Carluccio. Few and Far opened this week in Brompton Road, London amidst a collection of up market home adornment stores.

Priscilla is no stranger to retailing. Her brother is Sir Terrance Conran and she has for a long time been a powerhouse behind his retail ventures with arguably as good an eye for product as he has. Her husband is Antonia Carluccio the irrepressible restaurateur and TV celebrity chef. Priscilla was for a long while the marketing director of restaurant chain Carluccios. But this venture is hers through and through.

The concept is a store that can’t be done on the web. It will contain hand picked eclectic items for the home, clothes and things that will appeal to little kids. Don’t expect it to be cheap. Its theatre will be a constant change of products and colours through the seasons if for only one reason that most of the items will be one of a kind.

 Before I arrived I would have given no chance to any store that tried to range from a car, to pick and mix children’s sweets in a jar, in the same retail space. But that’s what I saw- a fabulous bright red 1957 Fiat Cinquecento (the first year of their production in Turin) lovingly restored and able to run on unleaded fuel and mouth watering sweets which I could imagine grandmothers bringing their grandchildren to spend their pocket money on…But strange as it might seem it works and works well. I particularly liked the hand written price tags and the stories describing the artists and their approach and philosophy on some of the more expensive pieces to help justify the price...  “I don’t sign my pottery pieces” says one of the descriptions by the artist “as they have my fingerprints all over  them”.

There were some lovely pieces which, when I win the lottery (I’m sure that this week will be the one, mind you I thought that last week) I will come back for and items that I would not give house room to. But that is the joy of taking time to wander around both floors.

As I look through the store I get a feeling that every inch has been lovingly put together and is run by real merchants with a love for what they sell and for the customer. I was even offered a cup of tea - that is real tea from a tea pot and served in real china…

The stock selection will be on the basis of items that Priscilla would like to have in her home…and given that she has great taste that should be a continuous treat.

 Of course the more I look round the store the more I totally understand that this is Priscilla’s store, this is a one off, and maybe not economically viable in the long term –yet I can’t help getting the feeling that with all the benefits that mass merchants bring, not least in making products affordable, the world is a poorer place for all that retail ubiquity. We could all do with more of the retail love of product and proposition that Few and Far brings.

When you are in London and want to see something different take some time and visit. You won’t be disappointed. But don’t expect the Cinquecento to still be there, I’m buying that with my lottery winnings this Monday.



David Roth

Few and Far, 242 Brompton Road, London SW3


A Visit to Brazil