There is really no time like the present to open a multi-billion dollar new mall. I am not alone when I say I didn’t expect much from Westfield, Europe’s largest indoor shopping centre which opened in London back in October. I mean if you’ve ever been to the U.S., you know malls. So I waited until this past Saturday to make a trip over. It was too cold to do anything outdoors after all. And by too cold, I mean – 3ºC. Yes, I’m acclimatized now.
The concept of a mall in London takes a little getting used to. I think the convenience factor, including super long store hours, just seems a bit out of place. After all, this is the place where you still can’t get a debit card replaced on the same day at the branch! Maybe it’s the fact that malls usually suffer from poor ventilation, have a shortage of stylish stores, and really poor food options, but the mall experience that I know is generally unsuccessful and very tiring. Shopping at Westfield, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Toronto malls could learn a thing or two.
- Ban fast food and opt instead for express outlets of real restaurants in the food court.
- Group stores from the same category in the same area: homeware, kiddies, luxury, etc.
- Have a champagne bar.
- Sign up unexpected and interesting stores, stores that don’t exist in every other mall across the country.
- Create ambiance when the shopping is done with stylish restaurants that are not rainforest-themed, Milestones, or Moxie’s.
What’s definitely going to bring me back to Westfield is the COS store. Think of it as a more expensive, higher quality, minimalist version of H&M. Be sure to add COS and Westfield to your next London to do list.
Terry Chan is a Canadian lawyer practicing finance law in London. She writes every Friday on style and fashion, perfectly aware that the next big thing is not looking like a lawyer.