Specialist housewares chain Steamer Trading Cookshop has just exchanged on a two-storey shop in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.
The 3,900sq ft outlet is set to open in mid-October. It is located on the upper level of the centre, on the stretch between anchor tenants Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser, in premises previously occupied by furniture retailer Dwell which creased trading last summer.
The new branch, which will join 30 other Steamer Trading stores in towns and cities nationwide, marks the company’s shopping centre debut. Bluewater is an out-of-town shopping centre at Greenhithe in Kent, outside the M25 orbital motorway, operated by property group Lend Lease. Billed as Europe’s leading retail, leisure and entertainment destination, the centre celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. It boasts 300 stores (including housewares retailers Lakeland, Le Creuset and Cath Kidston as well as department stores John Lewis and House of Fraser), 13,000 free parking spaces and over 50 restaurants.
Steamer Trading Cookshop managing director Ben Phillips said he chose Bluewater because “it’s very much our customer base; drawing upon an affluent catchment we already deal with.” Steamer’s nearest stores to Bluewater are Canterbury, Westerham and Brentwood, “so it’s a part of the country we know well, and we’re very confident,” he said.
He added that the new store will be “very exciting, very different and very visually interesting. It will not feel like a shopping centre site: we’ve made what could be a very ordinary box into a ‘wow’ factor.” Features include a new mezzanine floor, a new “dramatic” staircase and “a central display that will really stand out”. Product-wise, there will be a particularly strong focus on knives and coffee and a big emphasis on in-store demonstrations.