Fitch London is to reposition leading Irish book shop chain Eason in a project that will encompass interiors and branding in 50 stores across Ireland, as the company moves to head off competition from international chains.
The group, which was appointed in December 2002 after a four-way pitch, is currently in its ‘discovery’ phase, says account director Thom Breslin, conducting management interviews and market research. The result of this audit process will be delivered to the client at the end of this month, he says, with the creative work beginning after that.
Brands such as Waterstone’s and WH Smith operate in the Irish market, but Breslin says Eason’s work with Fitch London is a broader benchmarking exercise against European competition.
‘Eason is the market leader in Ireland, but it wants to stay ahead of the competition,’ says Breslin. ‘We’ll look at what Irishness could mean within the European market and position Eason in a new way.’
Eason has a flagship store in Dublin’s O’Connell Street, but Breslin says no decision has yet been taken on where the ‘model or prototype’ store for any new format may be located.
‘The brand has a broad spectrum of store types [in design terms] and there’s likely to be the opportunity to retrofit as well as roll-out a new concept,’ he adds.
Eason has been operating in Ireland as a bookseller for more than 100 years and also sells magazines, music, educational products, stationery and games.