A store of the future

Rupkatha Bhowmick

American lifestyle multi-brand concept American Rag Cie has brought its California coolness to Dubai. In September 2018, the first American Rag Cie flagship store opened in the region, in partnership with AW Rostamani Lifestyle, the brand’s exclusive licensee for the MENA region.

Spanning over 8,265 sqft, the American Rag Cie flagship store is located at the new fashion extension in The Dubai Mall. The space has been meticulously utilised to house a multitude of global and home-grown brands as well as an in-store café serving specialty coffee.

From a denim bar to a DJ booth at a vantage point high above the shop floor, from humanoid robot Pepper to interactive digital mirrors, the store is truly next generation. Amidst all these, what truly stands out is the brand’s futuristic core – specialty fashion fused with new-wave of innovation.

Brand founder & CEO Mark Werts and AW Rostamani Lifestyle CEO, Greig Fowler talk to RetailME about making shopping entertaining at America Rag Cie.

“Flower, water, butter, white shirts, blue jeans can all be bought from the couch. Why should we visit shopping malls,” Werts asks. “We will continue to visit malls to be entertained. As retailers, we are in the entertainment business. At American Rag Cie, our idea is to turn our stores into entertainment centres. People who come to The Dubai Mall don’t necessarily want to purchase clothes, what they are all looking for is some form of entertainment. Shopping is becoming a by-product.”

The Dubai Mall store is less than half the size of American Rag Cie flagship on La Brea Ave in Los Angeles. The obvious question is the strategy of such brands to generate revenue per square feet for such massive stores in prime locations. “We work hard,” quips Werts. “On a serious note, we are not in the business of sales only. We are looking to create a community and spark customer engagement that goes far beyond the transaction.”

“We have to create value for every square footage of space,” adds Fowler. “The store that stands today will look very different in the next six months. We are constantly working to change the way we interact with visitors and continue building on experiential shopping. We will soon start organising various in-store events, pop-ups and trunk shows.”

Read the full article in the January edition of RetailME