Toy retailer keeps it real for kids

Spanish toy retailer Imaginarium will pilot a new-style store in Zaragoza, Spain, next month created by Design Ministry, with a view to rolling out the concept to its 215 shops worldwide.

The company prides itself on its child-centred approach, says Design Ministry managing director Valerie Lloyd, which emphasises the role of creative play in the development of children up to the age of seven. As a result, Imaginarium does not stock electronic toys or computer games and, says Lloyd, its approach is the ‘antithesis of the American hard-sell’.

‘The company needs to change and grow to keep ahead of the market,’ Lloyd explains. ‘The existing design, though tailored to children, was quite cluttered and lacked product focus. The corporate blue [colour] was overused to the point where you couldn’t see the product. Our aim is to draw out the ethos of the brand.’

Details of the revamp remain under wraps. But the consultancy has modernised the look of the store’s ‘signature’ design theme, where the entrance to each store has a large door for adults and a small door for children.

‘This [idea] is instantly recognised by children as being for them and signals that the entire layout and premise of the brand is on their terms,’ Lloyd adds.

Design Ministry won the work in November 2001, having been approached by Imaginarium six months after its founding chief executive Felix Tena saw Lloyd address a conference in Barcelona. A number of other groups are thought to have been in the frame.

Imaginarium is committed to a significant expansion programme this year in France, Italy, Portugal and Latin America. Last month, it announced the luxury goods group LVMH is to buy a 40 per cent stake in the business.

Latest articles