Sports Connect: Celebrating sports and fashion
By Susmita Das | Vjmedia Works | July 11, 2013
Sports Connect has unveiled a new store at the Phoenix Market City located in Pune, housing the world's best sport fashion brands. The store has been designed and created by Restore Solutions.
"The objective of Amigo Sport is to be the leading brand house of iconic sports brands in India. The business objective is to launch a chain of "SPORTS CONNECTâ€ stores across India & the SAARC countries. Sports Connect is a concept which lays equal emphasis on retailing of sports goods, sports inspired fashion & footwear all under one roof offering consumers a world class ambience and shopping experience,â€ avers Vijay Kumar Madanu- Chief Operating Officer, Amigo Sport Pvt Ltd.
In keeping with the brand objectives, Bangalore-based design group Restore Solutions has designed the space while incorporating an athletics track as the creative language for the store. "Most retail spaces are inspirations derived from lifestyle and anchoring on aspiration. But with Sports Connect we decided to flip the approach such that the space was completely inspired by sport. Lifestyle design would be the part player in a game that has its DNA rooted in the rush of adrenalin. The store has its roots in sports, lifestyle and sporting activity. The symbolic connotation of a track is unmistakable and an athletics track was chosen as the design language that would bind the space. It would be the signature that identifies Sports Connect stores. Apart from this, there are subtle design cues which further enforce a brand language; for instance the way the category headers are designed with a textured wall with a metal grid etc,â€ explains Stuart Simon, CEO, Restore Solution.
Spread across an area of 2966 sq ft with a single level, the merchandising offering of the store comprises a balanced mix of sports goods of almost all major sports played, practiced or beginning to be experimented in India. Besides this, the store houses foot wear and apparel that addresses performance and sport inspired fashion. The store has been designed keeping in mind sports enthusiasts and fitness lovers.
A number of innovations have been laid out in the store wherein an inventive concept within the format has been introduced. This involves a unique consumer experience to facilitate community creation through provision for a non alcoholic Fizz Bar, Sports News Information area and a Gaming Zone. These provisions have been made to create better consumer connect and loyalty. The store faÃ§ade design has been kept plain and laconic showcasing sporting activity and merchandise at the window. A wooden floor, reminiscent of the college gym basketball court, has been created with a red athletics track running across it dividing the space diagonally. The angular positioning of the track floor also serves to break the linearity of the space and tends to pull the crowd inside the store.
The space also consists of strong over-head category headers on a textured background running over the panel. To further add excitement to the dÃ©cor, powder coated metal fixtures highlighting contemporary design has been installed. These fixtures are totally functional with the use of the highly versatile slat wall panels. The signage on a grid structure for the category headers also stands out by adding character to the space while clearly defining the merchandise. The lighting strategy includes the use of evenly lit lights, generating a lively environment.
As for the zoning concept of the store, it's laid out in three segments, "The first section is the apparel display followed by the footwear wall. However, the arrangement of the footwear wall is not exactly right after the apparel section. Rather, the footwear wall is more of a focal point and takes up position in the visual hierarchy. Apart from this, the rest of the merchandise is grouped as per field sports activity and the merchandise getting wall space on priority,â€ avers Stuart.
Bringing the concept into play was not a cakewalk for the design group which had to overcome various stumbling blocks. "The ceiling heights for which the concept was originally designed took into consideration an average ceiling height of a minimum of 9 ft. However, certain sites offered far less clearance, some as low as 7ft. This made it difficult to incorporate the brand's language without compromise. To counter this, the ceiling was painted with grey, making it stand out from the rest of the retail outlets, giving the entire space a unique identity,â€ says Stuart.
Speaking about the brand's future plans, Vijay shares, "We target to open about 35 stores in first 3 years. We shall be launching these in all the metros & Tier 2 cities. The retail concept is flexible to resize according to the potential of the city.â€