Adult entertainment retailer and party plan organiser Ann Summers is renaming all its London stores, as it embarks on a two-pronged branding programme. The four London outlets will now be known as Soho, with the Ann Summers brand used as an endorsement.
The first renamed store opens in Brewer Street today and will be rolled out rapidly if customer feedback is positive. Further London shops are planned, while on a nationwide level the 35-strong chain is opening between one and three stores per week, in an aggressive expansion programme.
Interior and exterior design has been developed by Silver & Co, with graphics and identity by MHG, which has also developed orchid-themed packaging for new Soho-branded product ranges.
The Soho brand will be used in London and “trendier towns and cities”, confirms an Ann Summers spokeswoman. More upmarket than previous stores, it is intended as a “destination outlet”, with a wide product range.
Manchester and Edinburgh could see the Soho format, while in the longer term Milan and New York have also been earmarked.
The conventional Ann Summers store format, known within the company as High Street, will continue to be rolled out. It is expected to be redesigned, within a year, by the chain’s four-strong in-house design team, following research by BDG McColl. It will be aimed at women shoppers.
Features of the new Soho format include a vibrator bar, a bondage table and a fetish wall.
“I knew straight away this was the route to follow,” says Soho head of brand marketing Rebecca Franklin. “We have worked hard to create a brand new image that cannot be compared to any other lingerie retailer,” she adds.