WMSmith points the Way at Heathrow

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When you want a book, newspaper or magazine and happen to find yourself in an airport, the options are likely to be uninspiring with average store design doing battle with over-merchandised floor space.

Not so the newly opened WHSmith store in Heathrow’s Terminal 2. This is actually a refurbishment and a slight enlargement, it now measures 5,100 sq ft, but it is the outside that is the element most likely to capture the eye. Rather than the usual lacklustre frontage that tends to characterise players in this arena, this store is, in effect, a series of translucent sheets backed by LEDs. The outcome is a fascia that can change colour and on which patterns and designs can be displayed.

The store is in fact an amalgam of features taken from formats that the retailer has created over the last couple of years, from bookshops where the name is surrounded by filmstar dressing room-style bulbs to a Well pharmacy from the UK brand of the same name, that WHSmith has partnered with.

In terms of making shoppers pause to take a look around on their journey to the gate, this is a considerable departure from the norm and when people finally start travelling en masse once more, it should find favour.