Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports began 85 years ago in a small shop in Manchester, England and now has a chain of retail stores across the United Kingdom. From print to online plus retail fascias, embracing innovation in products, sales and marketing has been the Ellis Brigham brand signature from the social media initiative #livebreatheoutdoors to its Wild Ski Weekend for all things backcountry. It was the first UK retailer to place an eight-meter Ice Wall in its London and Manchester stores and has begun trialing Augmented Reality on some of its products.
In 2017, learning from international trends observed as far away as the USA and Japan, the business opened the outdoor lifestyle store Outsiders in Liverpool, describing it as ‘where retro-nostalgia meets 21st century cool and communication’ stocking ‘our considered collection of apparel & goods for the modern outsider.’ Its new Surefit Boot Lab drills down into the wealth of expertise enjoying in specialist outdoor and plays a key role in maintaining the character of the outdoor recreation sector.
It’s a move that reflects two key observations on retailing in the UK in 2018. British Retail Consortium Chief Executive Helen Dickinson observed this Spring, ‘The retail environment is changing and retailers are investing in innovation and technology adaptations in response to this.’ KPMG’s 2018 Annual Retail Report noted, ‘Retailers who are focused on delivering a strong customer experience are leading the pack.’
Despite retail consolidation, DTC and the pressures on margin, plus fierce competition, the family-owned business has maintained a clear specialist independent focus throughout its steady expansion. Its catalog collections have achieved an almost legendary status with skiers, snowboarders, climbers and outdoor enthusiasts and always feature the latest developments in apparel, footwear and equipment. Similarly, its easily navigated website majors on advice and inspiration.