Psyche fashion store owner Steve Cochrane says its store in Middlesbrough’s largest shopping centre continues to thrive after five years as a result of its ability to attract a range of diverse customers.
Despite challenging times for high street stores, Psyche 2 is celebrating its fifth anniversary in Cleveland Centre because owner Cochrane believes it allows his brand to reach out to a more diverse customer base.
Along with a main department store on Linthorpe Road, Psyche also now has a base in Durham as well as a large and growing online presence that now accounts for around 50% of total sales.
But Cochrane – pictured above with the Cleveland Centre’s Craig Weatherall – says the smaller Psyche 2 store in the Cleveland Centre will continue to play an important role for the business.
The store, which employs nine of Psyche’s 86-strong team, is currently looking to introduce ladies’ line to its current men’s and children’s products.
“Both Psyche and Cleveland Centre are synonymous with Middlesbrough,” said Cochrane, whose business turned over £9m in the last financial year.
“Psyche 2 provides a totally different offering to our main store gives shoppers an entry price for a more casual, younger product. It gives us more of a presence in the town centre and helps give us a much larger, stronger footprint in the town.
“It attracts a really diverse customer base, possibly a little older than we initially anticipated, from their early 20s to their mid-40s.
“It’s proved to be a great test bed for us to trial new products and brands so, alongside the big names, we like to introduce new and emerging brands, and often a more casual product.
“But ultimately it has to have the same high standards as the large Psyche store. The look, feel and ambience is important to me – we care about our customers, the products we offer and the environment they’re shopping in, so it has been carefully curated.
“It was always important to avoid cannibalising the main store, so we initially called It Style Lab to totally differentiate it from the main store, but when we renamed it Psyche 2 sales went up by 30%.”
Cochrane said he remained committed to two Middlesbrough stores despite ongoing challenges for all high street retailers.
He added: “It’s no secret that the high street is going through severe challenges. Middlesbrough is no different from anywhere else.
“The migration of retail customers to online means all town centres are finding it challenging, so I think it’s a case of riding the transition. Five years on, I’m glad I launched Psyche 2.
“We’re always looking for new ideas and plans so we’ve been discussing the potential to add women’s fashion brands to Psyche 2’s men’s and children’s lines, as we’re getting an increasing number of requests to expand the range.”
Cleveland Centre’s deputy manager Craig Weatherall said: “It’s fantastic that two iconic Teesside names, the Cleveland Centre and Psyche, are working together in such a positive way.
“We’re delighted that Steve and the Psyche team remain so committed to our shopping centre five years on and are planning towards the next five years.
“We’re proud of the fact that alongside national names such as Boots, HMV, New Look and WH Smith, we’re able to offer Teesside shoppers leading local brands such as Psyche.”