Sky is to launch a community of excessive avenue shops throughout the UK, saying it needs them to develop into “social hubs for buyers”, with the primary one opening in Liverpool on Monday regardless of tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.
The plan to begin a community of shops, every of which could have a music venue-style “entry all areas” stage to host numerous interactive experiences for patrons, comes amid the closure of tons of of outlets because the pandemic takes its toll on the retail sector.
“We’re proud to see our retailers opening at a difficult time for the UK excessive avenue,” mentioned Stephen van Rooyen, the chief govt of Sky UK and Europe. “We’ll deliver service, innovation and comfort multi functional place, beneath one roof, at a time when protecting individuals linked has by no means been extra essential.”
The media group mentioned: “All retailers will function in keeping with the federal government’s Covid-19 security measures, together with strict social distancing, necessary face masks and hand sanitiser accessible throughout the store.”
In Might, Virgin Media mentioned it will shut its last 53 retail stores and disappear from the UK high street. The cable TV firm, which had 140 shops in 2016, mentioned the pandemic had accelerated a shift in the direction of on-line customer support.
Sky mentioned the shops would differ from these of its rivals, going past merely working as a gross sales level for its TV, cellular and broadband packages. It needs them to develop into a brand new social hub for buyers.
It plans to launch about 5 of the shops this yr, with additional openings in 2021. The retailers can even provide a cellular restore service via a partnership with iSmash, the expertise restore chain that has 31 shops in 10 UK cities.
Regardless of the pandemic, there may be nonetheless demand amongst clients searching for an in-store expertise, notably as expertise turns into extra complicated and costly.
Many customers shopping for an iPhone for about £1,000 , for instance, will wish to go additional than a web site or cellphone name to verify they’re making the fitting alternative.
Final October, BT launched a revamp its 615 retail shops throughout the UK utilizing its excessive avenue presence to push its purpose of being considered as a British “nationwide champion”. The relaunch of the EE retailer chain – BT acquired the cellular firm for £12.5bn in 2015 – with co-branding marked the primary time the BT model has been on retailer fronts since 2004.