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Hit or miss: Menswear Spring 14

Our seasonal survey of high street collections stops off in Brighton, where we cast an eye over the spring 14 stock in the city’s menswear multiples.

Many of the stores visited for this season’s Menswear Hit or Miss were concentrated in Brighton’s Churchill Square. With almost 90 stores and 470,000 sq ft of retail space, it is a typical three-floor shopping centre built in the 1960s, and was redeveloped and enlarged in 1998. The centre is surrounded by Western Road’s tired-looking row of larger stores and the historic cobbled streets of The Lanes, with multiples such as Reiss and French Connection scattered among the city’s independent stores.

Spring 14 offers men a vast choice of trends and key styles, whether it’s a sportswear focus, the young fashion streetwear look or prints and patterns covering everything from T-shirts and shirts to swimming shorts and statement sweaters. It was good to see more stores offering something new rather than the perennial check shirt and chino combo, instead fine tuning and interpreting trends to work for a specific shopper.

But this survey wasn’t all about the product. Other factors were taken into account, such as allocation of product, merchandising techniques and choice of visuals and window displays, all of which influence a store’s overall score. Value for money and the quality of fabrics, fits and finishes were also prominent factors in the judging.

Stores that failed to score highly were particularly let down by a poor level of service. Unmanned tills and neglected changing
rooms, a lack of product knowledge from staff or generally messy and unkempt stores contributed to several less than satisfying shopping experiences. If changing rooms are dirty and staff can’t be bothered to greet shoppers, why should the people of Brighton be inspired to spend?

 

Readers' comments (2)

  • Why do you waste your time with this type of venture? If I want to see what multiples are stocking I can go to any High Street. Why not look at what the indies are stocking and their approach? Surely a lot more interesting. Zara is Zara up and down the country; JD is JD up and down the country etc. etc. I am now questioning the relevance of Drapers nowadays as it's main focus (or is it just a space filler when there is nothing else to write about?) seems to be more and more on the multiples, big guys and the High Street.

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  • Eric Musgrave

    Eric Musgrave responds: I suggest you read your Drapers a bit more carefully, Mr Anonymous. We have plenty of coverage of all sectors of the fashion retail sector - multiples and independents, department stores and ecommerce. Hit or Miss may not be of interest to you, but it is consistently one of our best-read features. Many readers are interested in our take on the chains' offerings for the season. But then far more people work in the multiples' sector than the independents' arena. I totally accept that we cannot please all the people all of the time.

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