The new Royal Exchange store will open in November 2017

Smart tailoring, sophisticated silhouettes and controversial slogan t-shirts – French Connection was always a prime shopping haunt in Manchester, especially when you needed a slice of the catwalk for a fraction of the price. It’s safe to say shoppers felt a loss once the premium high street brand exited the city centre back in 2016. 

This November, French Connection expands its retail portfolio and returns to the city with a new concept store launching in the Royal Exchange.

Close to the original site on the corner of St Ann's Square, the new store will sit at 7-9 Exchange street, bolstering the building’s portfolio of big name brands alongside Hotel Chocolat, L'Occitane, and Swarovski.

Returning to the city centre just 18 months after the closure of its original store (January 2016), the UK-based retailer plans to shake up the Manchester high street with multi-channel technology incorporate throughout the new site. The 2,885 sq ft store also hopes to revive the brand in a key retail setting with a fresh new look and feel.

Bridging the gap between high street fashion and designer style, French Connection’s strength lies in balancing new and exciting fashion with quality and affordability. However, despite maintaining high street presence through concessions in House of Fraser (Deansgate) and Selfridges (Trafford Centre), the brand was keen to create a standalone shop and has secured a ten-year lease on the new site. 

“We are very excited to be returning to Manchester and the Royal Exchange location provides us with a prime retail space in the city,” said a French Connection spokesperson. “We already know the demand for French Connection amongst local customers, which has continued over the past two years via our e-commerce and local concession channels, and we are looking forward to having a physical brand presence in such an important city for retail once again.”

The new store concept comes following a deal with real estate firm, Hines, which acquired Royal Exchange Manchester back in November 2016.

“This letting is a significant demonstration of our move to enhance the quality of retail brands offered within this landmark building,” said Sharon Bloodworth, director of retail asset management for Hines UK. “We are delighted to provide French Connection with a bespoke unit in our building and to welcome them back to this desirable location in Manchester.”

For more information, visit the French Connection website