Just days after issuing a profit warning that sent its shares spiralling, the luxury British fashion company Burberry officially unveils its largest ever retail store in the heart of London. Reuters Technology Correspondent Matt Cowan speaks to the brand's Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey about the vision for the store, which blends cutting edge technology with tradional craftsmanship.
++CORRECTED - FIXES TYPO IN INTRO++ The intersection of fashion and technology has a new physical presence in the heart of London. The British luxury fashion company Burberry has officially unveiled its largest ever store on Regent Street. The building dates back to 1820, making it even older than Burberry which was founded in 1856. However, the store was built with the aim of engaging people through tradition and technology. Creative Director Christopher Bailey came up with the concept. SOUNDBITE: Christopher Bailey, Burberry Creative Director, saying (English): "What we wanted to do is create an environment, a flagship that really replicated the same experience that we have online on Burberry.com in a physical environment." The 156-year-old company has earned a lot of attention for its use of online platforms and innovative technology to promote its brand. With iPads a plenty, RFID chips sewn into certain garments and what's said to be the largest indoor retail screen anywhere in the world Burberry is taking the multichannel retail approach to a new level. SOUNDBITE: Christopher Bailey, Burberry Creative Director, saying (English): "We have created a gallery here where we can show the history and the heritage through actual clothes, through films, through video, through music. We've got the first physical incarnation of Burberry Bespoke which is where you can make your own custom made trench coat. It's basically the whole world of Burberry under one roof." The store's official unveiling was planned to coincide with the opening of London fashion week, but it also comes just days after Burberry issued a profit warning that sent its stock tumbling. This interview was conducted under embargo before that news. Still, Bailey did address the question of how the brand can justify the expense of building its largest ever, most advanced store in 2012. SOUNDBITE: Christopher Bailey, Burberry Creative Director, saying (English): "People need to be excited by things. It's very difficult to put a number on what makes someone excited enough to make them want to try something on which makes them want to by something." But, he says, by extending the screen experience to the real world of bricks and mortar stores the brand has an opportunity to engage consumers with compelling stories and narratives. SOUNDBITE: Christopher Bailey, Burberry Creative Director, saying (English): "We're becoming more where we want to know the story behind something and not just what's in our face. Again, how do you put an ROI on that. It's impossible to quantify but I do feel that if someone feels good, if someone feels excited, if someone feels interested in something then they may want to buy it." SOUNDBITE: Matt Cowan, Reuters Technology Correspondent saying (English): "One last thing. As much technology as you have in the store the one thing you don't see a lot of are cash tills. Why is that?" SOUNDBITE: Christopher Bailey, Burberry Creative Director, saying (English): "We've got cash tills around but what we wanted to do is make that experience feel relaxed so if you're shopping and buying something you can - if you want - sit down and buy a cup of tea, give someone your credit card, they do everything and they bring all your bags and it's all done." But, he says, the store's set up will evolve depending on customer feedback. Like it's online presence, shaping Burberry's biggest store will be an iterative process. Matt Cowan, Reuters