One day, we’ll have hyper-specialists for everything (absolutely everything).

Published on 16/09/19

“Everything under one roof” is petering out. Hypermarkets are seeking to reduce retail space and get rid of household goods in favour of food. The trend comes with a counterpart: the return of hyper-specialised shops. One of a kind shops!

Buttons, adhesive tape, liquorice...


The phenomenon has mainly reached the capital cities, and is symptomatic of the shake-up in retail. In high streets, ultra-specialist boutiques are emerging which only sell one type of product. In Berlin there is a shop that only sells buttons; another sells adhesive tape; there’s even a pet shop dedicated to ants and terrarium supplies. Is it a heresy at a time when the internet offers infinite possibilities? Not necessarily….

A work of enthusiasts that pays off!

These very focused retailers maintain that they are above all passionate about their products! Their niche boutiques require unparalleled sourcing which few brands can offer. The shops are becoming true reference points in their niche areas, while the boutiques are showrooms where customer experience is key.

In this former butcher’s shop, the white tiled walls and the glazed counter now house sausages, steaks and salami…. made out of fabric!

The owner – a vegetarian since his teens – specialises in truly original decorative objects.

So, does it work?


The cloth butcher has just celebrated its 10th birthday, and the button shop has been around for 30 years…. there are no hard and fast rules. Except perhaps to say that the web plays an instrumental role. If the boutique is a beautiful window which shows off the know-how, it’s on-line that the business is really growing.

In an age of major distribution networks, websites offering a wide range of products, and chain stores, all these examples remind us that there is still a lot of opportunity for retailers who want to create their business just for themselves. A unique business.