Adidas New Experiential Store

Up on a ladder, drilling screws into a cinderblock wall, Evan La Ruffa is hanging locally produced art in the new Adidas flagship store in Chicago. “It’s a great space,” says Evan, “and the neighbourhood is a perfect fit for the Adidas brand and this art.”

Evan, aka, EL, is the artist whose murals and sculptures adorn Adidas’ latest flagship store, along with other local artists.

The store, which sits under a section of the cities iconic elevated train system is located in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park neighbourhood. The space is full of connections to the local creative community, including an original sculpture at the front of the store by Chicago artist POSE, and custom murals created by Tubsz, a south side native that specializes in Calligraffiti.

“The Adidas Originals flagship store in Chicago shows our ongoing commitment to exploring new and innovative ways to be part of the local community,” explains Pascha Naderi-Nejad, senior brand director of Adidas Originals.

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“Now our largest Adidas Originals store in the world, everything about it exemplifies how we partner with creators who have shared values and an ability to push the bounds of creativity.”

The store also has an EL train-inspired dressing room, and a community wall giving customers a way to share information about upcoming events. “We’re continuously inspired by Chicago, and the store enables us to celebrate the pioneering culture and creativity the city has to offer,” says Naderi-Nejad.

Adidas New Experiential Store chicago e-commerce streetwear urban design

The company’s experiential stores, where consumers can customise shoes and take stock of its community wall where information is shared about local events, are earning brownie points with retail analysts. Adidas online shopping experience is also excellent, allowing its shoppers to check in-store stock, and offers click-and-collect. One thing, however, that Adidas admits, is that it doesn’t have a shoppable mobile app or a shoppable Instagram page either.

Still, analysts say the German athletic wear company is gaining way in the sports apparel industry, taking back its number two spot from Under Armour, attributing this to ramping its game in the shopping experience and its move into streetwear designs.

Cowen & Co. analyst, John Kernan, wrote a note this year which says that Adidas is “outgrowing Nike meaningfully in all major geographical regions and placing greater pressure on (Under Armour),” saying the brand’s 66% e-commerce growth “continues to highlight the massive opportunity in (business-to-consumer).”

Nike has already taken that on board, evident in its controversial move to sell directly to consumers via Amazon, in addition to selling directly via its own stores and its e-commerce platform.

Adidas posted total sales growth of 20%, according to its Q2 statement release, and a big factor in that strong growth was e-commerce, which the retailer has been aggressively pushing.

“The decision to really aggressively push e-commerce have proven to be right based on the work that Harm (Harm Ohlmeyer, the company’s CFO) has done in the last five to six years and we’re seeing accelerating momentum with the income growth of 66%,” said Adidas CEO,Kasper Rorsted,  in an analyst address in August.

One of Adidas’ key ingredient over Nike has been growth in its “street style” collections and the continuous release of new colours and key products like its NMD (which stand for “nomad”) sneaker range – NMD continues to merge the best of Adidas innovation with progressive, street-ready design.

Adidas also continues to grow its celebrity influence too, as well as its designer collaborations, partnering with designers like Stella McCartney, Raf Simons and White Mountaineering.

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