Discreetly located in House of Fraser, Glasgow, the Champagne bar is not just a place to enjoy a glass of fizz with a bit of style.
Nor is it limited to bubbly. For those wanting the full self-pampering experience there is coffee, chocolate and cakes.
Named after Hugh Fraser – the store’s founder in 1849 – Champagne bars are appearing in the company’s other stores across the UK.
Frasers is among the major retailers looking to re-invent their offering as they seek to fend off the threats facing bricks and mortar stores from higher costs and the increasing drift towards online shopping.
The list of casualties on the high street is growing by the day. JJB Sports, Austin Reed, BHS and Jaeger are among the best known. Debenhams and Marks & Spencer last week announced plans to close stores.
According to the latest data from PwC one retail outlet a day closed last year in Scotland, with the banks, fashion outlets, mobile phone outlets and even charity stores being the hardest hit.
Some retailers will rip out endless racks of clothes and scrap run-of-the-mill brands, to make way for a range of leisure activities from fine food restaurants to nail bars.
It’s all part of an attempt by retailers to stem the decline in footfall – and revenue – and give their stores – and Britain’s town and city centres – a new lease of life as destinations to chill out.
Research shows more people are making the shift from buying products in city centres to buying “experiences”. Instead of heading in to town to load up on frocks, suits and shoes, they want food, drink, a makeover and exercise.
Over Easter leisure spending continued to outstrip retail spending as people opted for meals out rather than new clothes.
Harvey Nichols installed a restaurant and bar on its top floor when it first opened in Edinburgh and since then has added a sushi bar and a chocolate lounge.
John Lewis, which is remaining open throughout the redevelopment of the St James shopping centre, is taking advantage of the revamp to expand and offer shoppers better facilities for relaxation.
The company has been one of the more adept at embracing online shopping, but it recognises the need to bring new life to its stores if they are to survive and grow.
It has invested £24m adding a 20,000 sq ft fifth floor which has a new café with views across the city through a window that spans 40 metres.
Some older shoppers will note that department stores always had cafes and restaurants, but the big change now is that itis not just a case of having a coffee and a cake after a day touring the shopping aisles They are targeting those who see these facilities as their main reason for visiting.
Professor Leigh Sparks of the Institute of Retail Studies at Stirling University says retailers have long known they have to change their proposition when shoppers can find what they want without leaving home.
“Department stores have been going through a rough time for a long time. If they are only producing racks of clothes there is no reason for customers to go there,” he says.
“It’s about finding reasons to go there rather than functional shopping online, and it’s is also about how you are treated.
“So the department stores need to get bigger and better and there will be fewer of them.”
Additional reporting: Pauline Taylor