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Shopfitting as art


The majority of the work Hast Retail undertakes is in the UK, Germany and Switzerland rather than in its home country, but it sees its Czech location as an advantage.

“We are based in Ostrava to the east of Prague,” says company founder and owner Jan Pribyl. “It is a former mining region and offers us a big pool of people with technical skills and a collaborative attitude from which to recruit. That is crucial to our continuing development.”

Founded in 2006, Hast Retail has evolved rapidly from being a contract manufacturer of metal components such as staircases and railings, to a full service provider of complete shop interiors and exteriors. It recently moved to new 7,500 m² premises in Ostrava to meet growing demand and bring all of its activities under one roof.

“Most of our work is in the fashion retail sector,” describes Mr. Pribyl. “We work on flagship stores in top city center locations as well as outlets of major chains scattered around out-of-town shopping mall units. We have also gained quite a bit of experience in fitting out rooms for boutique hotels in a number of European cities. These projects generally give us greater scope for creativity, unlike work for the major retail chains where corporate image and branding tends to dictate the concept from the start.”

Vertical integration is the key to Hast Retail’s reactivity. With all of the necessary expertise in house, it can move forward quickly and keep to deadlines. The only brake to this is the way the market is structured.

“In most cases we do not work directly with the global chains but through intermediaries,” explains Mr. Pribyl. “It is a highly fragmented, competitive market.” In theory, Hast Retail can fit out premises anywhere in the world. It has already built up an impressive global list of references.

“There are, however, practical issues to consider, which is why our main focus is on the UK, Germany and Switzerland,” adds Mr. Pribyl. “One of our areas of interest for the future is the banking sector. Bank  interiors used to be heavy and solid to project an atmosphere of security. Now the big retail banks want a lighter touch. We want to give it to them.”

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