Stephen James Group launches first BMW urban store at Bluewater


BMW Urban at Bluewater

Landsec has announced the UK’s first BMW Urban store has opened at Bluewater, Europe’s leading retail and leisure destination. Located on the Lower Thames Walk opposite Next, the 1,600sq ft BMW Urban store is operated by Stephen James BMW Group and offers Bluewater’s guests a new way of buying a BMW that combines digital and physical retailing in one experience.

Bluewater’s guests can use smart ‘click and buy’ screens to access product information and carry out their order journey online and instore. Guests can also take a test drive directly from Bluewater and eight BMW product geniuses are available, each specially trained to demonstrate the latest technology and other features. The store also features a robot with the ability to provide product information and receive feedback, offering Bluewater’s guests an even more contemporary approach towards the retail experience.

The store design and fit out was overseen in-house by Stephen James BMW’s head of property, James Browne, and includes three display models, currently the BMW 1 Series, BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and the first-ever BMW X2. Display vehicles will regularly be updated with the latest BMW models to offer Bluewater’s guests the latest designs.

Adding to the experience, existing BMW and MINI drivers can enjoy a free barista-style coffee in the Isetta bar on presentation of their car key.

Commenting on the new store, Russell Loveland, senior portfolio director at Landsec, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Stephen James’s choice of Bluewater for the first BMW Urban store in the UK highlights our position as the leading destination for car brands seeking a highly effective way to engage with consumers. The experience-led content of the new BMW Urban store also reflects our commitment to ensuring Bluewater provides so much more than simply a collection of great shops and restaurants. It is a highly relevant addition to Bluewater’s unique line-up of brands.”

Simon Austin, from Stephen James BMW Group, added: “We wanted to offer customers a simple and easy process in purchasing a car, and Bluewater was the ideal location for this. This opportunity to bring customers into our experience-focused Urban store, combining the comfort and leisure of a retail environment with the opportunity to test drive, as you would in a traditional dealership location, was an important step for our future plans.”

The Stephen James BMW Urban store continues Bluewater’s pioneering role in establishing car brands in retail and leisure destinations. From the debut of the Rockar Hyundai concept in 2014 to the opening of the first Tesla permanent store outside London in the South East, Bluewater has led the industry in working with car brands to create a series of highly successful experience-led stores that engage effectively with its guests.

Time Retail Partners acted for Bluewater. Stephen James BMW Group dealt direct.