A classification approach to flagship stores
The chasm between academic and commercial worlds of retailing has never been better illustrated than over the topic of so-called ‘flagship stores’. Hardly an issue of the UK’s weekly fashion trade paper Drapers is published without a news report of some little known brand opening an often short-lived ‘flagship’ outlet in London. One such example is the ‘Covent Garden Flagship for Dune’ (March 25th, 2006) which describes a new 140m² shop ‘large enough to showcase the whole range’. Stores themselves promote their new shops in the same way, for example the Swedish brand GANT took a full page in London’s Evening Standard on October 14th, 2004, to announce the opening of its new ‘Flagship Store’, which turned out to be a modest shop in Richmond, Surrey. As Ryan (2005) observes, ‘retailers are notoriously prone to exaggeration and one of the most commonly used phrases is “we opened another flagship last week”.’ From the media coverage alone, it could be assumed that ‘flagship’ is most often used as marketing hyperbole to glamorize the latest store opening in a retail chain.