Oxfam’s new superstore is a clear example of retail’s continued evolution

This month, we saw the debut of something completely new on the retail landscape: the world’s first “charity superstore”. Oxfam’s new premises, situated on the outskirts of Oxford, is a bold new attempt to reinvigorate the charity retail sector, turning outdated perceptions of charity stores on their head. Will this particular evolution succeed? Only time will tell.

But a quick look around the store demonstrates what Oxfam sees as the future of retail: the space is about 12 times the size of Oxfam’s typical charity shops, and puts products on a pedestal. A long wall of display units draws the eye to Oxfam’s own branded merchandise ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ – an eco-friendly range that includes Fairtrade chocolate and coffee, Christmas cards, and bamboo coffee cups and lunchboxes.

Oxfam’s trading director, Andrew Horton, knows exactly what the charity is aiming for with its new property: “Our aim is for this to be an enjoyable and fun ‘destination’ shopping experience. Customers will be able to shop ethically, but we want this new store to have the wow factor. We want people to linger, to chat over coffee. We have a 10-year lease on this unit and if it is successful, we will roll it out in other locations.”

This idea – the idea of the retail “experience” – has become dominant on the high street over the past few years. That it is now being embraced by charity stores – typically, locations that eschew trends and sell themselves on principle and price – is a sign that the retail landscape has shifted dramatically. At P2, we have long catered to this “experience first” world: how you choose to lay out your store, how you curate displays, and how you enliven the customer experience.

But evolution doesn’t have an end point. Retail is evolving worldwide, as ecommerce platforms, social media, ethical concerns, and current fashions all intermingle to drive change. At P2, we keep up with that change – and we can help you to keep up too. If you’re planning a new product display, and need bespoke built units and guidance on how to use them to their greatest effect, contact P2 on 01455 288 922, or drop us a message via our contact form.