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A flagship department store finds new ways to innovate to boost footfall

PUBLISHED: 11:21 30 October 2018

An artist has won two Months Trading in Fenwicks in Colchester, in a competition designed to find new ways of trading inside the high street building which has been used as a space for retail trading for more than 200 years.

More than 100 members of the local business community gathered at Wivenhoe House, Colchester last week to see Samantha Luxford announced as the winner of the Colchester Business Enterprise Agency’s (Colbea) ‘In the Market for Success’ competition.

The opportunity will enable the Ardleigh-based artist take her nautical art start-up business into Fenwick’s 90,000 square ft store for two months and enables the department store to offer something new to its customers.

Fenwick opened three years ago in the former Williams and Griffith building following a £35m redevelopment.

Like many department stores up and down the country, Fenwick has been feeling the pinch of the high street woes lately and has been looking at new ways to drive footfall. In September, Fenwick announced it was swinging the axe on 421 jobs as part of a major cost-cutting drive, and 12 would be at its landmark Colchester store.

Ms Luxford’s business NaviStitch combines authentic navigation charts with a love of stitching to create works of art alongside a range of printed greetings cards.

Runners-up in the competition were children’s author Josie Dom, Jacquelyn Hayward of Woofs and Meows Treats, Kate Cox Garden Design and Consultation, and Philippa Kettlewell of As-If Living, who have all won a one-week trading spot at Fenwick Colchester.

Each winner had to make it through a rigorous judging process, consisting firstly of devising a strategy of delivery within Fenwick, before facing a judging panel including Colbea chief executive Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford and Julie Haywood, Group Buying Director for Fenwick, who said the standard for entrants was “incredibly high.”

Ms Seymour-Rutherford said: “The judges and I were very impressed by the amount of hard work and dedication that went into the applications and the shortlisted candidate pitches. It was not an easy task to select our winners.”

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