We Brits may not have invented the department store (that was the French of course) but we can pat ourselves on the back when it comes to developing exciting new variations on the theme.
Somewhere on my list of “neat formats worth a look-see” would be the new “My” store in the centre of Prague that was developed by Tesco with a little help from Fitch. A couple of years ago the owners of the only Czech department store operator worthy of the description Kotva were planning to breathe new life into the corpse of their central Prague store by turning it into a showcase for Czech retail franchisees – a challenge in itself when you consider the dominance of foreign retailers in the Czech marketplace. They had a stab at it, but it really didn’t come off too well and I’m sure they are still scratching around for “plan B”. Tesco, on the other hand, have achieved a spectacular away win with My by delivering the promise Kotva made and some.
Tesco have brought their full retail might into play with a model that extends well beyond the creation of a showcase for local retailers. In assembling this store using available Czech retailing components they have contributed massively to the understanding of the participating local operators of what retailing is all about. This is more than a store, its an education from which I am sure the Czech retailers who participated will benefit and hopefully never look back. Talk about raise the bar! OK, so they supplemented local resources by bringing in a few mates like the long-awaited (as far as I am concerned anyway) Costa coffee people (until now Czechs thought the height of coffee art was Starbucks – heaven help them!) to get the mood going, but it all adds to the formula. Every little helps and this is no small contribution to Czech retailing. Congratulations Tesco!