- Comcast is revamping the format of its Xfinity retail stores, with the first locations already open in Pueblo, Colo., Aventura, Fla., Henrico, Va., and Chattanooga, Tenn., with more opening each month, according to the company’s website.
- Comcast has already built or re-designed more than 250 stores since 2015, and will open more than 50 of the reimagined Xfinity stores in high-traffic shopping centers across its service footprint nationwide this year, the company said. The goal is for its customers to be within a 15-minute drive of an Xfinity store.
- In the stores, customers can upgrade or swap equipment, inquire about their Xfinity service, troubleshoot equipment or pay a bill at an in-store kiosk. Mobile services include mobile phone sales or data plans, and there’s a dedicated space for Comcast Business customers, the company said.
Introducing mobile sales and services drove the design of these new stores, which the company has been working on for the past two years, according to John Giacomazzi, VP of retail merchandising and the lead designer for the new store concept, speaking in a prepared video.
But the glimpses provided by that footage show that the company may also have taken a page from Apple stores, which are maximized for product and services demonstrations and customer service. There's ample space and comfortable seating areas, where customers can sample connected home devices and entertainment.
"At the center of each store are towers that feature big HD TV screens that showcase our latest products and experience — like xFi, our in-home WiFi experience, and the special features we rolled out for the Olympic Winter Games," Giacomazzi said in a statement. The screens, which are easily seen from outside the store, are designed to draw people in, he said. The stores depend on that, in fact, considering there's no outside signage, according to Comcast.
It's a bold brick-and-mortar play for a cable provider at a time when legacy retailers are shutting stores by the hundreds. Malls are regrouping in the new retail environment as department stores in particular, which have served as anchor tenants for so long, shutter their doors. Sears last week announced the closing of dozens more stores, adding to the hundreds disappearing in the last several months. Macy's, J.C. Penney and Bon-Ton have shuttered many doors, and Toys R Us is also swiftly departing the retail landscape as its bankruptcy proceedings continue.
The move also comes after Best Buy shuttered its 260 mobile stores across the U.S., moving those services and sales to flagship stores. The closure of so many mobile stores, which the company said it first began opening 12 years ago, will take a bite out of its results, but analysts have deemed it to a wise decision.