JHP set to serve plans for Elys of Wimbledon store

JHP will agree the masterplan by the end of the year to tailor a modern, appealing image for South London department store Elys of Wimbledon.

The four-storey, 8500m2 store has been an SW19 institution since its founding in 1876, but its present look and feel is dated. A contemporary makeover of ‘store experience and brand proposition’ will enable it to take on competition in nearby Kingston and the Wimbledon Centre Court retail complex, according to JHP creative director Raj Wilkinson.

‘Elys is an established department store,’ he says. ‘But the current retailing climate has changed significantly and Elys has been left behind.’

JHP’s work will offer the store ‘a foundation’ for growth, based around the strategy of ‘affordable fashion’. An initial appeal to aspirational consumers will, in time, gravitate towards a more upmarket positioning, Wilkinson adds.

A treatment concept for the exterior of the building has been devised (pictured). According to Wilkinson, ‘it’s a complete eyesore at the moment’ and ‘certain logistics’ need to be addressed.

‘[As a customer] you never see the site in one go,’ he explains. ‘The front corner of the building is prominent to traffic and the pedestrian side is [currently] at the back. We are concentrating on articulating the customer flow.’

The group, which won the work after a four-way pitch in September, is currently ‘putting the meat on the bones’ of the masterplan and ‘setting out the interior [design] vision’, Wilkinson says.

The fashion floor is the first priority for the interiors scheme, with work likely to be completed in the second half of 2004. The entire store is expected to be overhauled by autumn 2005, though Wilkinson says the group has a ‘long-term’ relationship with the retailer.

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