Improvements in both product and shop experience see H&M rise up the rankings.
More of a mixed bag this season from H&M, but this represents an improvement of sorts in a few key areas. Denim looks comprehensive enough, while the Mauritz archive pieces bring a different aspect to the overall offer with their quality finish and more workwear aesthetic. Fun speckly cotton knits and snazzy printed shirts enliven the rest of the collection, which can venture into some peculiar areas, for example a green biker jacket with contrasting patent sleeves in a particularly unpleasant shade of pale brown.
Previous ‘bang for your buck’ issues have largely been resolved, with denim from £19 that looks as good as Gap’s at £45 and a waxed and detailed British Millerain coat in the Mauritz line at £100 that looks the part. Chinos at £20 are also competitive. A significant markdown section undercuts some of the more basic autumn 13 styles while some of the sizing is off, with a large in the Mauritz line too big and a medium in the otherwise strong sports line too small. A fiver for a 50% organic cotton T-shirt is great value.
Far from a jumble sale this season, it’s pleasing to see menswear almost has its own distinct shop-in-shop, yet on the flipside in the windows men’s product is marginalised and doesn’t feature the strongest pieces. Layout is neat and visual merchandising in the front section good, but venture beyond and rails get cramped. That said, the shopfloor is tidy and in order. Staff are helpful in the changing area, although paying for items means coming away from the men’s area, where the desk is unmanned, and into the women’s.