Since opening its first T2 retail outlet in April 2014 Unilever (Lipton) has steadily increased store count outside Australia as it refines the concept. Last month the firm opened its second U.S. location and its 10th U.K. shop.
Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill is the site of the new store which joins a SoHo shop opened in March. Manager Keith Edwards told DNA Info the Smith Street store is situated in “a very local neighborhood with mom and pop stores, restaurants and cafes. That’s really the vision [founder Maryanne Shearer] had for the store.”
The newest of the British outlets are Tottenham Court in London and the first two shops outside the city: Cheltenham and Bath. In England sales of luxury and super-premium teas are growing annually at 12-14%.
The layout is evolving into three distinct sections, the first is a tea library featuring up to 200 loose leaf teas; there is an open table in one area of the store to enable customers to smell and view the colors and textures of the tea and a tasting bar that gives visitors an opportunity to sample before they buy, explains T2 International Retail Director Darren Williams. Stores feature daily tastings, offer preferred customers training through membership in its Tea Society and carry a line of custom teaware. Teas sell for $11 to $50 for 100 grams.
T2 was founded in Melbourne by Maryanne Shearer in 1996. Unilever purchased the business in 2013 and currently operates 53 stores in major cities in Australia and New Zealand.
On opening the first U.K. store Kevin Havelock, president of Unilever’s Refreshment Category told Reuters: “I see no long-term limits on the potential for T2.
“We actually don’t believe that there are any highly developed cities in the world that would not be a good environment for T2. “We recognize retail is becoming an increasingly important channel for consumers looking for exciting, adventurous new tea experiences, with T2 perfectly complementing our current offering,” he said.
Source: DNA Info