When it comes to better-end shopping, Nottingham is an impressive place. In part this may be related to the fact Paul Smith hails from these parts, and indeed there is a large, well-stocked branch in the city.
Address 14 St Peter’s Gate, Nottingham NG1
Brands Predominantly Hugo Boss
Number of floors Two
Open since August 23
There is a bit more to it than this, however, and if indies that carry well-known yet accessible labels are your thing, look no further than Thackerays.
Thackerays is a two-floor emporium located on a central street in a building that might have served as a bank at some stage but which is now a fashion store. It has just come through a refit and rebrand that has seen it change its name (from Hugo Boss) and stock. Until August 23, this was a mono-brand store where those who like Boss could indulge in a little wish fulfilment. Now it offers multiple brands and the kind of environment that is quiet and relaxing.
01 - VISUAL MERCHANDISING
Discreet might be the best way of describing what has been done. There are mannequin groups, but they do not dominate and much of the stock is contained in perimeter open-front wardrobes of the kind you might wish you had at home.
Mid-shop tables are used, for the most part, to display shoes and T-shirts on the ground floor (home to menswear), while footwear and handbags dominate the floor upstairs where womenswear shares the space with men’s tailoring. Everything is quiet and the visual merchandising is of the kind you might most readily associate with a slick hotel lobby – not necessarily a bad thing although it does court anonymity perhaps a little too closely.
02 - CONCEPT
Think white box and then add a few perimeter mood panels. In the interests of being equitable, it is very well done. It is also worth noting the semi-discrete glass conservatory-ceilinged room upstairs, where natural light spills onto suits of the kind that wouldn’t have looked out of place in American Psycho. Like many large label-fixated stores, however, this almost looks too tasteful and runs the risk of making the shopper feel they are disturbing an elegant loft.
03 - SERVICE
Service is a major element of the proposition at Thackerays and the staff tread that fine line between being available and being over-solicitous. On enquiry, a list of the brands that are stocked and the history of the store was reeled off with charm and enthusiasm, and upstairs, coffee from a fancy machine was on offer. You expect to be ‘served’ in a store where a suit will set you back hundreds of pounds, but not to be fawned over. Thackerays was strong on all counts when it came to striking that balance.
04 - PRODUCT
Boss, more Boss and then McQ, Hackett, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Barbour and Belstaff were among the brands stocked and the arrival of Ralph Lauren was hinted at. As such, this is posh department store territory and thoughts turn to the nature of the selection as much as the label. From this perspective it would be quite easy to kit yourself out from head to foot. This is predominantly about diffusion brands, rather than the full-blown and very expensive core designer ranges, but feels all the better for being so.
05 - COMPETITION
The problem that confronts Thackerays confronts any retailer stocking Boss – there is an awful lot of stuff out there that does the same job without the accompanying price tag. A short stroll away is Marks & Spencer and if you want a relatively metropolitan sb suit, then this is as good a place to begin the search … and it’s inexpensive. The other problem for this store is that if you are spending this kind of money, why not pay a few quid extra and get yourself suited and booted with items from local lad Paul Smith’s range?
Thackerays is a fine offer, but it operates in a very competitive environment.
06 - VERDICT - The prospects are good
This may be something of a Euro-bland interior, but it is an appealing one. The building itself is a fine structure and seems appropriate for the nature of the brands stocked. It also feels as if it has looked this way since the day it first welcomed shoppers, which is a difficult feat to achieve, given the very recent nature of the refit. There is, however, the little matter that if you feel the need for something to really raise the tempo, then there is really not that much to set the pulse racing. That said, this will appeal to Nottingham’s affluent and label-touting, gin ’n’ Jag set.