Sitting indoors to eat and drink is now allowed in the UK, but it’s the re-legalisation of hugging that’s really got our pulses racing this week: the classic form of loving embrace has been strictly forbidden (and aggressively punished) throughout lockdown.

One chap who definitely needs a good old-fashioned hug is Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, who has ironically admitted that he’s suffering with Zoom fatigue.

Meanwhile, our Belgian neighbours seem to be a step ahead on the loving gestures front, with kissing formally allowed at a festival in Brussels – those randy devils.

As exciting as all that is though, nothing gets our loins tingling quite like a new store opening – and there’s a host of them popping up all over the world.

 

In our latest project with Under Armour, we launched their most premium flagship to date in The Dubai Mall, which officially opened its doors last week.

We defined a memorable, community-focused space that celebrates the brand’s dedication to innovation, with areas created for event takeovers, aiming to bring the brand’s community closer together.

The store features a 3D foot scanner, Pick & Learn shoe technology and an integrated MapMyRun app.

 

“Green Room has taken us to a whole new place for retail – we couldn’t have done it without you.” – Lee Devon, VP at Athlocity for Under Armour

 

Whether your lockdown was defined by the cake or the kettlebell, sports brands seem to be leading the way in new store openings across the globe, catering to your personal post-lockdown goals.

Dick’s Sporting Goods has launched the House of Sport in New York, a 17,000 square foot outdoor field and running track, complete with a rock-climbing wall, batting cages and golfing bays.

We also recently launched a new football experience with PUMA in Tel Aviv as part of the brand’s newest flagship store launch. Combining the power of gamification, AI and projection, the experience lets you put PUMA’s boots through their paces before buying, in a fast-paced digital game.

And from Tel Aviv to LA, Lacoste are aiming to evoke the spirit of luxury Southern California and celebrating our new-found craving for community, with the launch of its very first Country Club. Very fancy.

PUMA Skill Cube Tel Aviv 3
Product trial is a bit boring at the best of times, so we teamed up with PUMA to re-imagine our now-famous Skill Cube project for their new Tel Aviv store.

 

It’s not just sports brands investing in physical activations though, with many brands now playing to our pent-up desire for sensorial, wow moments.

Pantone have just unveiled their first ever store in Hong Kong, enticing customers into a “different dimension” of colour – and boy is it a feast for the eyes.

The Experimental Perfume Club just opened their first lab-boutique, allowing you to immerse yourself in the art of perfumery and make your own fragrance; and Swiss brand Freitag – which sells one-off bags and accessories made from used truck tarps – has opened an industrial-design haven in Bangkok, complete with fireman pole and DIY station.

And in the streetwear world, VF Corp newcomer Supreme just launched their long-awaited store in Milan after years of speculation and have also just dropped a fridge collaboration with SMEG – first time for everything.

Pantone clearly still struggling with the meaning of ‘subtle’.

 

All in all, retail is looking pretty damn exciting right now. New store openings all over the world are finally breathing life back into high-streets and bringing back the buzz we’ve all missed so much.

The stores that will really succeed are the ones designed to be hyper-relevant, memorable and exciting. Because 2021 is the year that’s well and truly out with the mundane, and in with the unexpected.

In our report, Five Consumers Shifts That Will Last Beyond 2021 we looked at the key behavioural changes across the consumer landscape that present big opportunities for you to create those all-important hyper-relevant experiences.

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