Foot Locker’s Newest Store Features a Barber Shop and an Xbox Gaming Zone

Foot Locker’s Newest Store Features a Barber Shop and an Xbox Gaming Zone

In light of market slowdowns in Europe and the US, the American sports retailer is expanding its athletic-goods empire into Hong Kong for the second time, alongside other booming Asian markets like Singapore and Malaysia

Foot Locker is diving headfirst into experiential retail with the debut of its Hong Kong “power store,” a 26,000-square-foot sneakerhead paradise where shoppers can get a haircut or hang out and play Xbox in between trying on shoes.

Located in the city’s bustling Kowloon shopping district, the store is one of four the company plans to open throughout Asia in the 2018 fiscal year, with three in Singapore and one in Malaysia rounding out the pack. Only the Hong Kong location, however, qualifies as a power store, which Foot Locker’s chairman and CEO Dick Johnson described on the company’s last earnings call as an effort “in key markets to create more immersive and community-oriented customer experiences.”

“Consumers want eexperiences. They want cool product with connected stories and they want it all fast,” said Lewis P. Kimble, executive vice-president and CEO-International of Foot Locker. “The global youth consumer craves the experience of touching, trying, and sharing our products in person.”

Power stores in Liverpool, England, and Oxford Street in London likewise feature collaborations with local artists, on-site barber shops, sneaker cleanings and gaming zones, all designed to enhance the in-store experience at a time when many sneaker fans do much of their shopping online or via app.

The company is betting on its new Asia outposts to help drive sales as its growth in the U.S. and Europe have flagged slightly in recent quarters. It is also launching e-commerce in Singapore for the first time, complementing its in-store offerings.

Throughout the year, the company plans to open 45 new stores and close 120 less profitable locations, and Johnson said power stores are in the works for the domestic market, with the Detroit area up first. The trick, he said, is finding “the right property, the right lease terms and the right construction period to make it happen.”

There is no question the sneaker and sportswear market is booming in this city of 7.4 million people, which gets an extra boost from mainland Chinese shoppers who can even more easily zip down on the new high-speed train and the coming Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Hongkongers walk more than any other people on the planet – an average 6,880 steps a day, compared to the world average of 4,961 steps – and a lot of that walking to the subway, to the ferry, to the job, to the grocery store, to the bus is done in sneakers. Hiking through the lush hills overlooking the South China Sea is a common weekend activity.

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