Furniture retailer Habitat is expected to endure says one marketer who believes that it will ‘morph and evolve’ in the hands of Home Retail Group.
Nick Gray, managing director of Live & Breathe, which works with retailer brands such as Argos, Starbucks and Matalan, still has positive expectations for Habitat, despite being forced to close all but three of its 33 stores, with the remaining stores being operated by Homebase owner HRG which paid £24.5m, picking up the rights to the brand and website in the process.
“The Habitat brand is an enduring one with the British public, and one that will inevitably morph and evolve into something more current and commercial – whoever owns it – while retaining the enviable provenance and trust it has earned over the years,” stated Gray.
“Now HRG has it, expect it to bring the Habitat brand to a wider audience – high design will now be available at a lower price in the Argos catalogue, for example. This may mean the Habitat brand loses many of its higher-end customers, but it is likely to make a net-gain through being made available to the masses.
“HRG can maintain the Habitat brand presence by making it a concession in Homebase stores – it has more than 300 in the UK and Republic of Ireland. A defined ‘shop-in-shop’ will keep overheads low as well as offering an outlet for high design that is distinctive from other Homebase products.
“It should also make the three remaining Habitat flagship stores real flag-waving environments in which it should focus on ensuring people experience the Habitat brand in the best way possible. We are told ‘Habitat will still be Habitat’, but it needs to start with these three stores by really defining itself in a crowded market and showing how it can provide a new generation with more than IKEA and its myriad imitators,” he concluded.