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Stores leverage wellness trend

News, 27 June 2017
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NEW YORK: Chakra meditation and squat jumps are on offer alongside the more usual merchandise at stores like Saks and Urban Outfitters, as US retailers seek to tap the current wellness trend to generate greater footfall.

Saks' New York flagship store, for example, has devoted an entire floor to a 16,000 square-foot wellness sanctuary that opened in May, Business of Fashion reported, where consumers can take fitness classes or engage in meditation.

"We need to be their sanctuary, whether they need retail therapy or want to feel good about themselves," explained Marc Metrick, Saks President.

"After a good workout it's a big rush, so it's great – we want people to feel good in our stores," he added. "It doesn't always have to be because you bought a killer pair of shoes."

The development is part of a growing trend that has seen consumers more interested in having experiences than owning stuff – which they can, in any case, buy online if they want.

"No one comes to the store anymore to buy something,” Metrick admitted. “They can do that on the phone, in the cab, at home at night ... our stores have to become much more experiential."

Other retailers are following a similar path: from a yoga class at Bloomingdale's to a chakra meditation and sound bath at Urban Outfitters, wellness is the latest way to attract consumers in-store – an ever-present requirement that has taken on a new urgency thanks to the growth of e-commerce.

And being present in-store also increases the likelihood of buying other things, according to Marshal Cohen, NPD retail analyst.

"Impulse shopping happens more than double the amount in-store than it does with an online purchase," he said.

Data sourced from Business of Fashion; additional content by WARC staff

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