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have increased turnover this way at little or no cost to themselves in a time of difficult sales in their home market. Microlights has courted the franchise partners and proved that a good, considered retail scheme consistently costs less than a cheaper, badly considered one,’ explains Chamberlin. US retailers moving to the UK have also


provided contracts for Microlights as they reach saturation in their home market. The majority of recent work in Regent Street seems to be American brands such as Banana Republic, Abercrombie and Fitch, Levis and Anthropologie flagship stores. ‘US lighting products don’t travel too well due to the voltage change, so their schemes have to be ‘translated’ to match the stricter energy regulations and the more advanced use of T5 and ceramic lamps we see here.’ ‘The arrival of these US stores does


mean that the UK brands cannot afford to rely on the look and feel of their interiors for too long. A ‘novel’ interior has approximately a two year period before smaller rivals copy the best bits and the high street all starts to look the same again.’ Chamberlin believes that lighting


technology is starting to change the way stores look too. ‘The heavy marketing of LED has lead to some innovative use of the technology in areas of signage and display cases as well as some spectacularly poor examples of miss-use; where the LED burns itself into the retinas of the unsuspecting customers. Worse still, the early, much lauded (by the LED manufacturer anyway), example of all-LED stores were actually achieved using twice as many fittings and resulted in a lower light level and a poor end result that was enough to scare most other retailers away from LED.


22


‘The advances of the technology are


such that 2011 will see mainstream store lighting properly done with LED. Retailers that go back to the old fashioned ideals of quality of light rather than quantity will be able to use a balance of light levels that provide the entertainment they need to make their environments work.’ Innovative retailers such as M&Co and


Marks and Spencer are using high performance reflectors with 20W CMH lamps to effectively accent light in their stores now. Reducing from 70W and 35W down to 20W with a better design and finish of reflector has meant that LED has not been able to match the overall performance of these fittings yet. There is so much money being invested


by the large semi-conductor companies in LED that the costs are getting lower and performance is improving, so they will become more things to more people and offer the savings that are required in time. Chamberlin concludes: ‘The final piece of the jigsaw that will need to be mastered is sparkle. The biggest complaint from designers and lighting professionals so far has been that LED doesn’t offer the sparkle of other lamp technologies yet – and retail needs its sparkle!’


Above left: Wafer from Microlights. Above and bottom: BÄ.RO Lighting’s work at Warner’s Budgens in Bidford on Avon. Below: Trunky Midi from Microlights.


Contact


ACDC Lighting 0845 862 6400 www.acdclighting.co.uk Aurora 0870 444 11 06 www.aurora.eu.com BÄ.RO Lighting 0161 777 9292 www.baro.co.uk Fairfield Displays & Lighting 0845 166 5209 www.fairfielddisplays.co.uk Microlights 01672 517 000 www.microlightsgroup.com


www.a1retailmagazine.com


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