Global Flagship Retail Stores

U.S. and UK - Retail Industry Largest Stores of Top Retail Chains

A retail organization's first store location is often labeled as its "flagship" location. The word flagship, is borrowed from nautical terminology, where it most often refers to the lead vessel in a fleet. A broader definition allows the "flagship" designation to also be given to a ship that is the largest, fastest, newest, or most famous. That broader definition seems to appeal to the retail industry, where the "flagship" designation is liberally applied to stores in prestigious locations, stores with unique features, and stores that are larger than the average outlet in the chain.

Taken to the extreme, retail stores are now being designed and strategically placed in worldwide locations specifically so that they can be labeled as flagship properties. These stores are being positioned as the highest and best that the brand has to offer, and are being used as testing grounds for innovation and experimentation. With the prestige that the term now garners, flagship stores grab headlines, draw crowds, and provide retail organizations with an opportunity to turn an ordinary expansion into a notable global event. Nothing creates an instantly powerful brand presence in a city, state, or country like the flashy unveiling of a retail outlet that is designated as "flagship."

The World's Most Famous Flagship Retail Stores

If only the most basic definition of "first" is considered, then every retail organization has a "flagship" store. But when taking the broader meaning of the term into consideration, the number of retail chains with more than one deliberately created flagship location is small.

There is an even smaller number of elite organizations that are employing a flagship strategy as a proactive vehicle for high-profile expansion. Some of these organizations are highlighted below, along with some of the more prominent stores that have earned the right to lead their retail fleet as flagships.


> New York's Biggest and Best Flagship Stores >>
> London's Biggest and Best Flagship Stores >>
> China's Biggest and Best Flagship Stores >>
> World's Largest Retail Chains >>

Because of the prestige associated with Manhattan retail real estate, New York store locations are designated as flagships almost by default. Many global retail organizations have chosen New York addresses because of the credibility and visibility they provide. Many U.S. retail organizations established their legacy there.

Here are some of the most famous stores with New York addresses and the superlative features that have helped them gain their flagship designation.

FAO Schwartz - Manhattan Flagship Store
A newborn doll nursery, a 6,000 square foot candy store, an in-store cupcake baker and the famous BIG piano are just a few of the features of this iconic New York flagship toy store.
Click for all Features of the FAO Schwartz New York Flagship >>

Lane Bryant - Manhattan Flagship Store
A complete line of Cacique lingerie and flagship-only merchandise make this Lane Bryant Manhattan flagship store different from the rest of the Lane Bryant Chain.


Click for all features of the Lane Bryant New York flagship store >>

Victoria’s Secret - Herald Square Flagship Store
Video walls, Swarovski crystal chandeliers, and a special NYC collection are a few of the things that make this upscale flagship store a must-see for Victoria’s Secret fans.
All Victoria’s Secret New York Flagship store features >>

Walgreens - Empire State Building
Eyebrow Bar, Yogurt Bar, take-out food, locally crafted NY beers make this Walgreens flagship store much more than a pharmacy.
All features of the Walgreens New York Empire State flagship store >>

Burton Snow Boards
106 Spring Street
Soho district
New York, NY
Flagship Features

  • First New York location
  • A "cold room" that replicates winter temperatures for trying out winter gear

Lord & Taylor
Fifth Avenue & 39th St.
Manhattan, NY
Flagship Features

  • 600,000 square-foot, 11-story building
  • Historic landmark building
  • Owned and operated by Lord & Taylor since 1914
  • Famous part of Manhattan's retailing legacy and reputation

Macy’s
151 West. 34th St.
New York, NY
Flagship Features

  • World's largest department store
  • 1,000,000 square-foot, nine-floor building
  • A registered New York City landmark
  • Shoe department occupies two entire floors
  • Bridal suite with a walkway platform
  • Owned and operated by Macy's since 1902

 

Mrs. Field's
Fulton & Broadway
New York, NY
Flagship Features

 

The corporation's largest store in terms of both volume and concept

  • First bakery concept incorporating a large in-store dining area

Nokia
5 East 57th Street
New York, NY
Flagship Features

  • Second of 18 flagship locations planned for global expansion
  • High-tech decor, and cutting edge product demos and kiosks
  • Completely interactive, with an exhaustive range of products, accessories, 3rd party devices, and mobile technology
  • Fully functional multimedia environments for testing all products
  • Staff members are all graduates of Nokia Academy

Palm Retail Stores
30 Rockefeller Center
New York, NY
Flagship Features

  • Largest store, in a prominent location
  • Carries Palm’s entire product line of smartphones, handhelds, mobile managers and accessories
  • Live demonstrations and real-time activations

Paul Smith
142 Greene Street
Soho, NY
Flagship Features

  • Thier first New York store
  • Houses all Paul Smith collections, including women's and men's clothing, furniture, art objects, curios, and vintage books

Prada
575 Broadway
Soho, NY
Flagship Features

  • 23,000 square-foot space purchased for $40 million
  • Formerly the home of the Soho branch of the Guggenheim Museum
  • Innovative retail architecture

Saks Fifth Avenue
611 Fifth Avenue
Manhattan, NY
Flagship Features

  • Owned and operated since 1924
  • 10 floors of designer merchandise
  • 8th floor shoe department has its own zip code, 10022-SHOE
  • Accounts for 20% of the entire chain's annual revenue
  • Wardrobe consulting
  • Onsite spa and salon
  • Afternoon tea service
  • Wedding services
  • Coat and package check
  • Package delivery
  • Local messenger service
  • Concierge to make New York restaurant and theater reservations

Steuben Glass
667 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
Flagship Features

  • 6,100 square-foot, three-level store in Manhattan's Crystal District
  • Designed by architect Ralph Applebaum
  • Houses Steuben exhibition glass
  • Gallery with a complete collection of Steuben crystal, and ongoing special exhibitions

Tiffany's
Fifth Avenue and 57th Street
Manhattan, NY
Flagship Features

  • 124,000 square-foot legendary retail location since 1940
  • U.S. National Register of Historic Places
  • Made famous in the film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
  • Polished granite exterior, doormen, Alpine marble, and breathtaking chandeliers
  • Private selling salons with platinum ceilings
  • Fifth floor entertaining and exhibition area
  • Houses Tiffany & Co. Archives

UNIQLO
546 Broadway
Soho, NY
Flagship Features

  • 36,000 square-foot store
  • Largest, and first flagship store outside of Japan
  • Designed by renowned architect Masamichi Katayama
  • Features products and styles only available at this location
  • Exhibits limited edition t-shirts created by top Japanese artists

Whole Foods
Time Warner Center
Manhattan, NY
Flagship Features:

  • 59,000 square feet
  • Largest supermarket in Manhattan
  • 248-seat cafe
  • Houses New York City's first Jamba Juice location
  • Full-service sushi bar with organic seaweed
  • Walk-in greenhouse with exotic flowers
  • Wine shop, open on Sundays
  • Chocolate-enrobing station covers anything in chocolate
  • "Beauty Pod" with makeovers and beauty expert consultations
  • "Trial Bar" of take-home personal care samples
  • "Soap Bar" with hand-crafted, homemade, and artisan soaps
  • "Made In New York" section with locally made products


>Flagship Stores Around the World >>
> London's Biggest and Best Flagship Stores >>
> China's Biggest and Best Flagship Stores >>
> World's Largest Retail Chains >>

What follows is a list of flagship stores that are located in London, England, UK, along with the unique features that qualify the store for "flagship" designation.


Oakley
A chandelier fashioned from 4,000 pairs of Oakley sunglasses is just one of the features of this luxury Oakley UK flagship destination store. 

Abercrombie & Fitch
7 Burlington Gardens
London, England, UK

  • First London and first European location
  • Store is in a renovated historic building, originally built as a home in 1725, now on Savile Row, the area known as London's fine clothing district
  • Historic interior, including grand stone staircases with wrought iron railings, high ceilings, and dramatic lighting
  • Decorated with oil paintings of well-built and handsome young American men wearing football outfits
  • Jeans are displayed in glass counters resembling a jewelry store
  • Sells limited edition jeans, which are only available exclusively in flagship stores in key cities like L.A. and New York in limited quantities


Apple
235 Regent Street
London, England, UK


  • Apple's largest store with an estimated rent of £1.5 million a year.
  • Events and workshops are held daily in the two-story shop.

Louis Vuitton
160 New Bond Street
London, England, UK

  • It features a two-story wall of trunks – to showcase the Louis Vuitton tradition of working in leather – and a glass and LED staircase.
  • The 15,000 square-foot store is designed to reflect the 21st century mood of London and bring together innovation, heritage and fashion.
  • Features a library which showcases the best of British contemporary Art Books and commissions.
  • The store’s second floor is a luxurious private client suite, which can only be accessed by invitation.


Nike
236 Oxford Street

London, England, UK


  • 70,000 square-foot store.
  • The store has the largest collection of women sports clothing and footwear in Europe.
  • The store took two years to build and cost between $46.7 and $62.3 million USD.


Selfridges
400 Oxford Street 

London, England, UK


  • The flagship Oxford Street store is the second largest shop in the UK.
  • Known for its outstanding architectural features and masterful decorations.
  • Selfridges is known for its food hall, which includes a section with popular American food products that are rarely found in London.


Solange Azagury-Partridge
162 New Bond Street
London, England, UK

  • The most fantastic feature of the new store is the carpet. It stands out in Azagury-Partridge’s signature style.
  • The first floor of the two-story boutique is an impressive meeting of theatrical and whimsical.
  • Everything has been choreographed and specially made for the space.
  • Downstairs is a private-member area featuring hidden doors, alcoves and padded walls.
  • The ceiling is decorated with 600,000 Swarovski crystals.


Sunglass Hut
162 New Bond Street
London, England, UK

  • The 1,906sq ft Oxford Street flagship features a 975 square foot sales floor, along with a Social Sun station for an interactive experience.
  • There is a VIP lounge for private fittings and press appointments.
  • The flagship locations feature over 30 designer brands in an expanded brand assortment, plus newly launched brands.
  • The new flagship store concept aims to provide an innovative, interactive experience that celebrates fashion and shopping.


UNIQLO
311 Oxford Street

London, England, UK 


  • The London flagship is UNIQLO’s largest store.
  • Authentically recreates the unique experience of modern Japanese retail culture.
  • It was designed by the renowned interior designer Masamichi Katayam.


Whole Foods
63-97 Kensington High Street
London, England, UK

  • The 80,000-square-foot store is the first Whole Foods Market in Europe.
  • It is spread across three floors in the historic Barkers building on High Street Kensington.
  • The ground floor includes an in-house bakery in the Provision Hall, which features a wine and cheese bar. A team of 55 in-store chefs will prepare a range of fresh foods.
  • Downstairs is Market Hall, which features more than 10,000 grocery items. Shoppers can select from nearly 100 options including nuts, oats, and grains.
  • At the London store, Whole Foods is launching a new Five-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program, which allows shoppers to understand how the meats they are buying were raised and treated.
  • A food hall on the top floor features 13 dining areas with seating for more than 350 diners, where they can choose from a champagne and oyster bar, the pub, sushi and dim sum

 

Chinese shoppers seem to judge international retail stores based on the size, location, and curb appeal of their physical buildings. Most of the biggest and best flagship stores in China are filled with luxury brands that cater to upper-income shopping. This is a list of the flagship stores that major global retailers have opened in China, along with the features of those stores that have earned them the elite designation of "flagship."

Apple
Shanghai, China

  • 16,000-square -foot store with large glass staircase
  • Features 40-foot cylindrical glass wall
  • Most heavily trafficked store
  • Highest sales and revenue of all Apple stores

 


Boucheron
Sparkle Roll Plaza
Beijing, China

 

  • Exclusively features most high-end jewelry collections offered by Boucheron
  • Has bridal jewelry collections
  • Features the iconic Reflet watch line

 


Coach
Shanghai, China

 

  • 650 square meter store, spanning two floors
  • New features include women's and men's boutique areas
  • Coach specially designed a new handbag line available only at the flagship store
  • The exterior of the building is completely Coach branded with logos and signature Coach patterns on the walls and windows.

 


Funtalk China Holdings Limited

 

  • At 1,400 square meters, it is one of the largest mobile communication retail stores in China
  • Features interactive interior design, offering comprehensive sales and showcase experiences for shoppers

 


Gap

 

  • Offers two types of limited-edition jeans designed specifically for the Chinese market
  • Offerings tailored to Chinese rather than U.S. customers
  • Large, two-story store
  • First American retailer in China to offer apparel and accessories for the whole family under one roof

 


Louis Vuitton
IFC Mall
Shanghai, China

 

  • Designed by New York architect Peter Marino to feel like more of a presidential hotel suite than a retail store
  • Carries all product lines that Louis Vuitton sells anywhere in the world
  • Separate VIP entrance with valet service
  • VIP fitting lounges for men and women
  •  


Moncler

  • 600-square-meter store is the largest to date
  • Outstanding, creative window displays in front floor-to-ceiling windows

 


Sephora
Beijing, China

 

  • When it opened, the Beijing flagship was Sephora’s biggest store in the world.
  • Huge media screens at the entrance display ads and animations of new products
  • Customers are greeted outside the store by larger-than-life Harajuku Lover statues
  • Carries products specifically designed for Chinese customers, like those with "whitening" ingredients

 


Source

 

  • Store features a 9-meter-high shoebox tower which also serves as the staircase.
  • Second floor features two large, wave-shaped shoe display walls

 


Sunseeker

 

  • Largest yacht flagship store in China
  • Store features exhibition and leisure outdoor areas, along with a private yacht club with individualized memberships
  • Featured the release of Sunseeker’s largest yacht in China


Vans
Joycity, Beijing, China

  • Features a skateboarding mini-ramp and interactive media area inside the store
  • iMacs and Wiis are available so shoppers can access over 150 videos/podcasts and download Vans iPhone apps
  • Eight custom-made cases feature Vans history in surfing and skating

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