New retail in London

As a trendhunter I don’t only do fairs. It is also important to see the world cities. Here I look for new behaviour, So, London. And we will look at the new retail concept by H&M and IKEA.

Before we talk about the new retail concept of the giants in retail, let’s look at what else was new in London spring 2023.

As an introduction to the London trip I can say that it was busy, crowded and more people than expected. Of course a lot of shops were closed. At least 25% of all stores were closed. But where do all the tourists come from?? It was soooo busy.

Where is recession? We didn’t plan for dinner reservations and the restaurants were so packed we almost gave up and had McDonalds. Almost…

In my report from London last year we could see how London is trying to experiment with retail. They still do. Picture above is actually from Saatchi gallery. Are shops museum material now? Will the physical store have a chance or should we just look at it in museums?

Last year Selfridges experimented with small scale experiences. This year they play around with creative cafés. And perhaps we are more willing to spend money on sweets than on actual objects.

Maybe cafés and art is the future? Fancy hotel Claridges had made a statement that they want to invite more people to their exclusive and deluxe premises. How to involve more common people? Open a cafe and a gallery. And most importantly make your staff friendly. Walking in at a space like this can be quite difficult with doormen etc, but from now on they will be super friendly. And they were. I am actually considering a whole trend topic on “the new niceness”, because it felt new – and it was nice.

So last year we concluded that retail in London was all about adding something local. And that is still true today.

But the main reason you are here is to read about the new IKEA and H&M project. Two of the world’s largest players in retail happen to be Swedish and as of last year they have a joint project. It is simply called Atelier 100. You can read more about it here and take part of an interview not done by myself.

Here, at the picture above, is Hammersmith. A fairly boring area of London. In a large shopping center they have a normal IKEA and a normal H&M. And since a few weeks back Atelier100.

And at a store of approximately 50 or so square meters you find the content. See images below.


The whole project is about “hyper local”, meaning that they promote local designers, local production and even local materials. It’s is all a bit homemade. Like homemade scented candles. And bags made of scrap materials.

It’s just a pity that it is so ugly.

And non-unique.

Another project I wanted to see in London was Battersea Power Station. Totally crap. Don’t go.

But they had a pop up market with local designers.

And the thing is – they had exactly the same items or objects as Atelier100. Will IKEA and H&M compete with these kind of initiatives?

So IKEA and H&M is opening a new retail space with local flair but is competing with other local initiatives. I am not sure I like it. It is ugly and unnecessary.

It is challenging. Apparently two of the world’s largest players in retail think this is important and the future. I am just puzzled.

Maybe we will see it in a museum in 20 years…

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