‘Customers want to feel special’, says ANNA founder at launch of new store
- Credit: Archant
An independent fashion chain favoured by the stars aims to buck the retail trend with the launch of a new flagship store in Bury St Edmunds.
Fashionista Anna Park started her clothing retail empire ANNA 25 years ago with the opening of a store in Burnham Market. Since then the retailer attracted a celebrity following, with customers including actor Amanda Holden, novellist Jojo Moyes, celebrity cook Mary Berry and supermodel Claudia Schiffer.
ANNA launched a second retail outlet in Bury St Edmunds 18 years ago. It was originally in Guildhall Street, before moving to Hatter Street in 2012, but after an ideal location became available at 12 Abbeygate Street, the store has moved again.
MORE - Then and now: 10 years of change on Ipswich high street (Part 1)"It just felt right and I want this to be our flagship store," said Ms Park. "I think a lot of people may have missed us (in Hatter Street) so when this property became available, it made sense to move to what I think is one of the best high streets in Suffolk."
ANNA has become one of the most successful independent fashion retailers in the country - thanks in part to the support and success of its Bury store.
The company recently released its own brand - Primrose Park London - and now has stores in Essex, London, Norfolk and Woodbridge.
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"Our aim is to try and buck the trend in terms of what is going on in the high street," she said.
"Big stores may be closing, but that's not because people aren't spending. I think it's because habits are changing. Customers want to feel special. They want to feel looked after and they want the best service - and we pride ourselves on our customer service."
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The new flagship store will be stocking ANNA's new Primrose Park London brand and Ms Park also hopes to showcase talented local designers there.
"I feel that customers will experience something with us that they don't get anywhere else. We are big on loyalty and service. I also think people will find that we are not as expensive as we look. When you dig in here we have something for everyone and we aren't age specific. I'm conscious of keeping it real and watching the prices," she said.
Ms Park hopes to launch a new loyalty scheme and is looking to create pop-up events for new talent after after successful collaborations with designers in London such as coat and scarf creator Charlotte Simone.
"We are keen to have pop-up stores with local designers in the new Abbeygate Street shop. I never say no to anybody when it comes to fashion. Anyone can always get in touch and come and show me one of their collections. The plan is to regularly showcase talented local designers in Bury," she said.