The second Leica Boutique to open in Australia, on the first floor of Michaels CVD in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, has proven an unequivocal success according to both the local Leica distributor, Adeal, and Michaels managing director, Peter Michael.
The new ‘store-with-a-store’ opened about a month prior to Christmas, closely following the launch of the Sydney Leica Boutique at Foto Riesel, Kent Street, Sydney.
‘We are delighted at the response,’ said Peter Michael, managing director, Michaels. ‘Sales have been excellent and it’s improved the general look of our store.
‘We had a bit of a void on the first floor and needed something of value to work in with our Camera Museum. The Leica Boutique is a perfect fit up there.’
He said that the relatively quiet ambience of the first floor location added to the premium feel of the installation.
High-quality cabinetry, custom-built by Leica, and premium finishings distinguish Leica Boutiques, and dedicated staff are sent to Germany for training at the Leica Academy.
‘I don’t regret it for a moment – it has gone extremely well. It wasn’t cheap, but nonetheless it’s a very good investment,’ said Mr Michael.
Ryan Williams, Leica product manager, Adeal, confirmed that there had been ‘most definitely an increase in sales’ of Leica gear from Michaels since the store was established.
‘- Not just in camera gear but in high-end binoculars and spotting scopes as well,’ he added.
Overall, Adeal has actually consolidated the number of authorised Leica Pro dealers around Australia from over 30 to just 16. There has been an increased emphasis on product knowledge and also a greater focus on having ample inventory in store.
He said there were plans for more roll-outs, with Brisbane and Perth probably the next cities to get a Leica Boutique.
Mr Williams said he had had been fielding quite a few calls from retailers wanting their own boutique.
He said Leica products were selling not just to the well-heeled, but appealed to photo enthusiasts as well, especially in the boutique setting, where staff were able to explain the differences in build and quality in the manufacture of Leica products.
Leica Boutiques established a premium positioning for the brand, ‘- but not in a snobbish way,’ he added.