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Hit or miss: Next - 39/50

Next - Unit 46, Churchill Square Shopping Centre

Product 9/10

Next perfects the art of working most of the season’s trends while offering them in an interesting yet wearable manner that appeals to both new and existing customers. There is a wide range of printed and patterned T-shirts, short-sleeved shirts and statement sweaters, alongside a core range of staples, such as jeans in skinny, slim, tailored or regular cuts. Tailoring is strong, with a range of silhouettes, colours and fabrics that offer a better variety than most stores.

Merchandising 8/10

There is a lot of product in this store with many options available, but it doesn’t feel overstocked or overwhelming. Almost every rail contains the same allocation of sizes, with one small, three medium, three large and extra large, which is great for consistency and means all rails maintain an organised conformity and just the right amount of product.

Value 7/10

Next scores well by striking a balance between quality and price. Basic T-shirts start at £6, two for £10 or three for £15, while graphic and printed T-shirts range from £12 to £16. All are better finished than those at rivals such as Topman. Jeans start at £25 and go up to £35, while short-sleeved shirts at £22 to £30 are good value, though a thin bomber jacket for £48 seems steep.

Service 8/10

Next is the only store to have a member of staff manning the entrance, greeting customers with a smile and asking if they are looking for anything in particular. It is also one of the only stores to offer basket-like shopping bags for customers, which is a nice touch and a trend I believe will spread.

Visual merchandising 7/10

The menswear section of the window is strong, with a coastal theme brought to life with various props alongside three mannequins, all with clear pricing for key pieces. Next also scores for signposting the store and its products well, with sizes, prices, fits and special offers all well labelled.

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