A store that does not sell anything will open in London this year

Nothing just released its first phone months ago, but that’s not stopping the company from establishing a physical retail presence. The company is opening its first Nothing Store at 4 Peter Street in London’s trendy Soho sometime ‘before Christmas’ this year. The company promises a “boutique” rather than the usual tech store experience, and touts design inspired by classic chains like Italy’s Olivetti.

The store will carry the entire current small line of Nothing, including the Phone 1, the Ear 1 and the future Ear Stick. Unsurprisingly, there will be incentives for lining up for opening day – you can get free stuff and buy one of 100 limited-edition Ear Sticks.

The store is a bet for a two-year-old startup competing with audio and mobile heavyweights, some of which (like Apple and Samsung) have much larger retail presences. Although Nothing’s store isn’t big, it’s also in one of London’s poshest areas. While the average retail rent in the city is around £64 per square foot, Soho’s is estimated at just under £150. That’s a lot to spend when you don’t know how customers will react.

This strategy is familiar, mind you. Apple has long focused on opening stores in high-traffic (and sometimes iconic) locations to grab the attention of shoppers who wouldn’t otherwise use the technology, and other companies have used similar approaches. Nothing Stores could theoretically make the brand more recognizable, not to mention bolster its style-focused image.

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