L.V. – OMG!

Ill informed and agenda compromised mouths are shouting the imminent demise of physical retail from the rooftops with escalating volume and pitch. Not only do their prophecies fly in the face of 3,500 years of retail history and 6 million years of human evolution, but they also ignore the actual trading numbers that are being delivered every single day in physical retail.

They also overlook the shining examples of just how wonderful physical retail can be.

Which brings me to the subject of this article.

I was lucky enough to have an extensive personal tour of the new Louis Vuitton flagship store on the corner of George and King Streets in Sydney prior to its official opening. And there is no other way to describe the standard of this store than to say it is – in my humble opinion – the best store in Australia by a mile and arguably the best Louis Vuitton store in the world.

Not only is the standard of finishes in the store the best I have ever seen anywhere in the world, but the attention to detail is simple staggering. The entire fit-out is better than most five star hotels I have stayed in around the world. The product range is finally the full, extended Louis Vuitton offer. The Very Important Customer areas are sumptuous yet discrete, the entertainment area makes Sydney feel like New York (in all the best ways) and there is nothing in customer service that has been overlooked.

Three floors of retail heaven will be augmented mid next year when a very special mezzanine annex is added.

If you have been worn down by lowest common denominator retail and a sea of SALE! SALE! SALE! red ink, a little retail therapy at this store will have you re-energised about how immersive, aspirational, engaging and just plain wonderful great physical retail is. It just makes you feel fantastic on every level.

On the opposite corner from the Apple flagship store, it has just knocked Apple off its perch as Australia’s best physical retail store.

In two of the gallery areas you can arrange to have custom made shoes and customer made bags. During the opening phase a master shoemaker from Italy and master bag craftsperson from Paris have been flown in to create in-store theatre. Personalisation is on offer in almost every area of the store. Every human sense is titillated. And, for luxury goods, Louis Vuitton product is great value. Especially when you consider that they have the price integrity to NEVER go on sale.

Wonderful product, wonderful service, wonderful people and a wonderful store.

What ever you do when you are next in the Sydney CBD, make sure you take the time to immerse yourself in this store and re-discover why physical retail will never die for those retailers who understand how to make it magical.