Its well-planned layout and understanding of its customer make Next this season’s winner.
- Lower Ground Floor Unit 42, Ground Floor Unit 69, First Floor Unit 116
Next’s offer looks strong this season, nodding to trends in an approachable way for its customer. For example, tartan is key and works across fine knits and wool trousers, without a mini-skirt in sight. Workwear in particular looks great, with tailored matching separates making for nice alternatives to suits while V-necks on shift dresses add a little glamour. The variety of denim and coat options available is impressive, with jeans winning praise for having far more fits available than in other stores, from boyfriend to relaxed skinny.
Standout pieces include a PU-sleeve biker jacket with tartan body for £60, which is a cut above biker jackets elsewhere in terms of design detail and roughly meets the average price. Tartan trousers for £42 are pricier than River Island but are thicker fabric and the range of sizes is good. Fabric quality across the range is strong and fits are consistent. Jeans are about £30 in soft denim with a little stretch, while coats range from £70 for a thick quilted style to £80 for a duffle, all fully lined and heavy duty.
The store, Dalziel + Pow’s latest design for Next, is inviting and brightly lit, with a wide entrance and clear division between the casual and formal sides to the range making for easy navigation. However, products such as coats, which span both sides, would have been better separated into their own area. Quirky details such as a boutique-style lingerie room add a little interest to the standard Next store design, although the windows are dull as similar outfits are repeated on the mannequins. Inside, the mannequins are more inspiring, with jewellery and accessories added.