The breadth of range is amazing but value less so, plus Next’s customer can be pushed more.
In terms of offering a comprehensive wardrobe for a man who’s past the age of spray-on jeans, Next can’t be beaten. Every eventuality is catered for, from an epic tailoring area that takes up nearly half the overall floor space, to a well-stocked denim section. Next’s ability to offer a variety of fits and to inject a bit of the unexpected where appropriate is where it picks up points, with fun jumpers (including a mad leopard pattern), textural knits and outerwear looking particularly strong. However, this season doesn’t hit the heights of last, with more filler evident across the ranges. Shame about the going-out shirts and onesies…
Denim ranges from £28 to £50 but there is little obvious information as to why the styles differ in price while an unlined wool-mix blazer at £99 doesn’t stand up to M&S’s options. Cotton Oxford shirts for £20 are good but feature naff buttons, yet chinos at £20 to £25 seem better value. Suiting is priced well and the range of fits and sizes means there really is something for everyone.
As one of the newer Next stores, the shopfloor looks smart with premium fixtures and fittings and well-designated areas for the different product types. The changing rooms are similarly well-appointed but on this visit are a little dusty and are unmanned. Staff are a little standoffish during the visit but the bright and airy space means it is easy to move around. Mannequins are strategically positioned around the space and sport some of the more interesting stock, but downstairs and outside the windows aren’t pushing any menswear, and as a result may feel a little intimidating to what is still a relatively conservative shopper.