Authentic sportswear and real denim, selected accessories and a cup of coffee, that’s what men find at Stereo MUC in Munich. Owners Florian Ranft and Henrik Soller opened the menswear store in March 2014 at the former location of the old-established Confiserie Rottenhöfer. The building was carefully renovated for the new concept with its signature design elements from the 1950s being obtained: the curved marble staircase, the segment walls, wall tiles, the dumbwaiter or the enormous murals on the first floor.
On a total of 300 square meters, Stereo MUC presents a lovingly selected brand world with names such as Hartford, AG, Baracuta, Church’s, Filson, Rag & Bone or Aspesi. Upstairs, shoppers can find relaxation in the Stereo café. We spoke to Ranft about his personal key pieces, the challenges of retail and how to best face them.
Why did you decide to open your store? Please tell us your story and motivation!
It has always been our dream to open a pure men’s store. When we stood in the former Café Rothenhöfer for the first time, it was clear for us that this was the perfect location for our concept. Especially the connection to the café and the small terrace were perfect to implement here.
What is especially important to you when it comes to shopfitting and store design?
We tried to keep as much of the old substance as possible. That includes for example the old curved staircase, the wood paneling on the wall, the white marble floor, the tiles from the old bakery or the mural on the first floor.
We then adapted all new elements to the inventory and complemented them with modern furniture. We didn’t want a vintage store, but a contemporary store with a lot of appeal and character.
Which are your anchor brands and which brands did you add to your assortment most recently?
The assortment is very timeless and isn’t subject to great trends. We emphasize on authentic and high quality products. Our main brands include Hartford, AG, Baracuta, Church’s or Filson, new to the assortment in the upcoming season will be Rag & Bone and Aspesi.
Which role do accessories play when it comes to revenue and merchandise?
Accessories are a very important source of revenue and a very important part of our assortment. This is especially applies for shoes and bags, handmade knives and safety razors up to writing utensils, watches and sunglasses.
Please name five products you currently can’t go without.
Filson brief case, Baracuta G9, Church’s Turnbridge penny loafer, James Perse crew t-shirt, AG Dylan Denim.
How important are trade shows for you? Which trade shows do you visit?
We are at Pitti, in Berlin, Milan, Paris and New York. Pitti is by far our most important fair, everything else mainly happens in the showrooms.
Did you make a greater turnover last year compared to the year before? What do you base this development on?
We had an increase in sales of about 30 percent, which can definitely be traced back to a higher level of awareness of the store, a very loyal and growing group of regular customers and a rounder and balanced assortment.
Just recently you launched an online store. Which expectations do you have for e-commerce?
At first this is a service for our regular customers, who are very international and come to Munich only two to three times a year. We want to grow out of this niche and stand out from other suppliers through a very particular and selected assortment. Furthermore, we see the online shop as a catalogue for our store.
What does your store have that others don’t? What’s your USP?
I think we have a special atmosphere, not least because of the combination with the Stereo café, a cool team and a very clear focus on men exclusively.
Is there a kind of role model store for you? Any shop (worldwide) that inspires you?
Not really a role model, we trust our gut when it comes to our assortment. Stores we really like are for example Nitty Gritty in Stockholm or Carson Street in New York.
Which are the biggest controversies and topics in retail right now?
As always the early reductions. But due to the fact that we rarely offer commercial brands in Stereo it doesn’t relate to us as much and we reduce prices very late every season.
Which are the greatest challenges in retail?
To get enough traffic in the store and to find qualified and pleasant sales assistants.
Which is the most important ingredient when it comes to successful retail?
A good atmosphere in the store. That’s the first thing the customer recognizes when he enters the store and it’s also the thing that makes the difference in the end. To stand out just through the assortment alone is nearly impossible anymore.
What would you do different today?
Nothing so far. Please get back to us in a couple of year, then we’ll know how successful Stereo really is.