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New names on the highstreet: Gymshark & The Fashion Bible to open bricks and mortar stores

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A growing number of pureplay brands and retailers are making the transition from the digital world to the physical world in a bid to reach new customers and raise brand awareness.

Gymshark is set to open the doors to its first bricks and mortar store on Regent Street in summer 2022. The 18,000sq ft shop will feature workout spaces, fitness classes and “community hangouts” alongside the fitness clothing and accessories that are its core products. 

Gymshark founder, Ben Francis, said in a blog:  “It’s going to be incredible, it’s going to be experiential, and we want to bring as much of that Gymshark vibe and community in to this place.” 

Having launched online nearly a decade ago in 2012, the fitness pureplay hopes this “experiential space” will bring its community together “IRL”. 

Online fashion brand The Fashion Bible is also set to open its first physical store in Sunderland.

The retailer initially emerged on the high street when it launched into four Topshop stores in the Arndale Centre, Manchester, Eldon Square in Newcastle and at the Bridges. However those stores have since closed along with the wider Topshop chain. 

Owner and founder of The Fashion Bible, Lisa Fox says: “Because it did go so well in those stores that has given us the confidence to go it alone and open our own stores.

“This is very exciting for us and we can’t wait for people in the North East to see what we have to offer.” 

The latest moves from online to the high street and shopping centres come as a growing number of online brands shift onto the high street. 

Retail giant, Amazon, has opened its first Amazon 4-star shop in the UK at Bluewater, while Crep Collection Club and Vanilla have also opened shops for the first time in Land Securities shopping centres.

Earlier this year, research from PwC suggested that 8,700 chain shops had closed in the first six months of this year, as shoppers started to do more of their shopping online during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, with lockdowns seemingly a thing of the past, the online retailers that appeared to challenge those retailers are exploring the benefits of multichannel shopping for themselves. 

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