For the most part, department stores tend to be things of the city centre. Yet visit Zurich Airport and as well as a new retail development dubbed, somewhat functionally (it is curved), The Circle, there are two four-story buildings of around 2,000 sqm each called the ‘Lifestyle House’ and the ‘Sports House’ respectively.
Both are in fact products of the same retailer: Jelmoli. This is the grand department store retailer in the centre of the city on the uber-luxury thoroughfare that is the Bahnhofstrasse. At the airport it has honed its act and, effectively taken two significant parts of its business and given each space.
The Lifestyle House has beauty, accessories and ‘lifestyle products’ on the two lower floors, with clothing above this – just like a full-scale department store. Across the way, the Sports House does what the name suggests with the top floor being devoted to ‘seasonal products’, important in a city that is, for many, the gateway to skiing.
Department stores do not have to be enormous, they don’t have to be in the city centre, but they do have to be slick and Jelmoli at Zurich Airport is.