7 must-visit flagship stores opening in 2023

Sephora: new flagship store opening in 2023

Sephora is one of many high-profile stores opening in 2023

Shoppers started to return to stores last year in the wake of Covid restrictions lifting.

Although footfall remained 14.2% below 2019 levels, this gradually improved throughout the year. In fact, stores were the big growth channel for most retailers this Christmas.

As we enter the New Year, a raft of retailers have revealed plans for new flagship stores that promise to woo shoppers to the high street.

Retail Gazette rounds up some of the most exciting new stores opening to look forward to in 2023.


One of the most anticipated store openings of the year is Ikea’s new store on Oxford Street, which is set to  open this autumn.

The hoardings for the flagship have been up for over 12 months now, housed in the former Topshop store at Oxford Circus.

Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ikea’s owner Ingka Group, paid a whopping £378 million deal for the site that will bring bookshelves, mirrors and meatballs to London’s famous shopping street.

Ikea, Oxford Street
Ikea, Oxford Street – © Vicki Couchman Photographer

The 239,000 sq ft store will house around 5,000 Ikea products, with the option of taking home soft furnishing or ordering larger furniture items for home delivery.

Ikea retail operations manager Tolga Öncü tells Retail Gazette that Oxford Street will debut some elements never before seen in Ikea stores.

“There are some new components that we haven’t tried in any Ikea location in the past. Things that we think that can increase engagement, local relevancy and provide a voice for certain topics that are important for Londoners,” he says.

One thing guaranteed to be there – Ikea’s famous meatballs. Oxford Street will have an on-site restaurant serving up an array of Swedish treats.


After launching its UK website last October, French beauty giant Sephora is set to open the doors to its London flagship store in March in Westfield London.

The beauty retailer will occupy a 6,000 sq. ft store housing a range of products from makeup to fragrance, skincare, haircare, and wellness.

The store will stock more than 140 big-name brands including Drunk Elephant,Summer Fridays and Fenty as well as a lineup of brands exclusive to Sephora UK such as Makeup by Mario.

The store will also feature a Grand Beauty Hub which the business said would “provide memorable experiences for customers as they explore makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance, body and personalised gifting”.

Flannels and Sports Direct, Metrocentre

Shoppers in the North East are getting two flagships for the price of one this year as Frasers Group brands Flannels and Sports Direct open at Gateshead’s Metrocentre.

The two brands have signed a 15-year lease on a two-level, 130,000 sq ft former Debenhams unit.

Sports Direct
Pictured: Sports Direct’s Birmingham flagship, which opened last year

The store, currently used by Next Home and Beauty, will be divided in two with Flannels taking the slightly bigger ground floor and Sports Direct taking the upper level.

The new store is part of the retail giant’s plan to create a number of UK flagship sites that bring everything under one roof.

Other Frasers Group brands housed in the store include Evans Cycles, Game and a Belong gaming area.

The store will also house a 33,800 sq ft Everlast Gym including changing areas, two treatment rooms and a large reception area.

On running

On is opening its first standalone European store next month in London’s West End.

The Swiss running retailer will occupy a three-story, 860 sq ft store, located at 169-173 Regent Street, which is set to open February 10.

The store will serve as a seasonal hub for the local running community with the lower ground floor of the store housing a flexible space for panels, workouts, and events, including a pop-up bar.

On the top floor, shoppers will experience the latest in retail technology, including a high-spec wall that has hidden gait-cycle analysis technology, meaning shoppers only need to run a few strides to get instantly matched with the best shoes for their running style.

On co-founder David Allemann said: “Swiss Engineering means for us loving technology and the natural world. In our store on Regent Street, we have combined both innovatively and surprisingly.

“With technology and innovation at the forefront, On London will empower shoppers to engage with our brand in an entirely new way. The focus lies on our community of runners, outdoor enthusiasts, and everyday explorers.”


Pandora is set to open a new flagship storeat the 70/88 Oxford Street development, situated opposite the Tottenham Court Road Elizabeth Line exit on Dean Street.

The new, two floor unit will be Pandora’s third on Oxford Street, but the first one east of Oxford Circus.

Pandora to open a new Oxford Street store

It is expected to become a stand-out store in Pandora’s portfolio with further details on its features and technology set to be announced at a later point.


Uniqlo is set to open a new store in Covent Garden next spring, where it will be joined by sister brand Theory as it further expands across the UK.

The new store, which will be its 17th in the UK, follows the opening of Uniqlo’s Battersea Power Station store, which opened last year.

Uniqlo UK COO Alessandro Dudech says: “It’s an honour to be opening in an area of London with such cultural and retail heritage and continuing to expand our UK presence in important retail locations.

“With such a strong footfall from both Londoners and tourists, we look forward to offering LifeWear to new and existing Uniqlo customers.”

M&S, Liverpool

M&S has several big new flagships opening in 2023 as part of a £480m investment in “bigger, better stores”.

M&S will open in Liverpool One this summer

The retailer is opening 20 new stores this year, including a raft in former Debenhams stores. It has taken the old Debenhams units in Bullring in Birmingham, Trafford Centre in Manchester, White Rose in Leeds, Lakeside in Essex and in Liverpool One.

Every one of these stores could have made this list but Retail Gazette is particularly excited about the 100,000 sq ft new store in the centre of Liverpool.

The store will open during the summer and will include a café, clothing and home departments as well as a new-look food hall and in-store bakery.


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