PLOTTING THE FIRST FLOOR LANDING WITH SIMON

We've only got 2 days left until the big first floor opening and this means that Knightsbridge is working non-stop to get everything in order in time for the big launch on Friday at 8.00am. We headed straight to the store and heard General Manager Simon Youden out about how Knightsbridge is holding up in the preparations: “The operation behind it is almost like plotting the D-day landing...”

What’s been happening at Knightsbridge in the last week to the launch?
It’s been mental over here! We’re almost doing the impossible by integrating the 4th floor into the 1st floor and moving everything down; meanwhile, there’s an army of brands on the first floor doing their shop fittings. We’re working according to a very tight schedule: every day and every hour has a different task for every person. We also have a couple of overnight shifts happening, whereby management and staff come in at night to help move things up and down. The operation behind it is almost like plotting the D-day landing. All the while, we also keep trading during the whole operation – and with all this work going on we’ve had one of the best sales weeks of the year so far!

What’s this week been like for you and the team?
It’s been very exciting, intense and eventful at the same time. I’ve been having a few sleepless nights because of the adrenaline, resulting in some midnight emailing. My new best friends are my radio station LBC (as I’m somehow also trying to keep track of the world cup), my phone and my cup of coffee in the lounge downstairs.

What is the effect of the first floor project on the team?
People are working harder than ever but hitting the numbers and I’m incredibly proud. The most important thing to me is that I can be here for the team and that I can talk to the staff on the floor. We’ve started to bring about a real can-do spirit and “team” attitude. The first floor project has brought everyone closer together, which is amazing! It’s really an opportunity for everyone to challenge each other; to build a world class team that will be the envy of the retail word and provide momentum for the brand and shape our future.

How do you feel about the opening?
I just can’t believe it’s finally happening - every time I talk about it I feel the hairs in my neck coming up. The floor looks absolutely stunning and the natural light makes such a difference. It’s very rewarding that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel now. This floor development has been the most exciting one to me so far because ladies fashion is really what we’re known for and it’s going to be really important in kick starting our biggest category. And not only that… We’re elevating our service and products in many different areas: we’ve got a new mini spa on the 2nd floor, a new .com space, our new food packaging and refurbishment of the 4th floor is on its way, and the refurbishment of the 5th floor bar has kicked off. We’re creating a new energy and spark here - this is a transformative time for Knightsbridge!