Topman - 178-180 Western Road
Topman scores for not only leading many of the season’s trends, but offering a point of difference to most of its rivals. A sporty vibe with mesh fabrics and sports silhouettes, such as baseball shirts and bomber jackets, is key and offers more styles than elsewhere. This trend sits alongside a grungy direction with ripped denim and acid-wash jersey. However, a focus on skinny fits, particularly for denim, could alienate some shoppers.
A balance is struck between trend-led product, smart tailoring and casual basics, but outerwear isn’t well represented considering it’s quite early in the season. Sizes tend to range from extra small to extra large. However, trousers and shorts focus on 32- and 34-inch waists, which means small and larger sizes are neglected.
Shoppers can get something on trend for £30, which is decent value. Chinos start at £24, denim shorts from £28 and jeans from £30. However, competitors beat Topman on some pieces. Baseball-style shirts, for instance, are £26, but only £22 at River Island, while a statement printed sweater at £28 compares with £25 at River Island.
Staff are friendly and knowledgeable, but assisting someone at the till means the changing rooms are left unattended. The changing rooms are acceptable, but there is no chair. Although clean, the store is quite tired.
Visual Merchandising 7/10
The men’s half of the windows are empty except for a Sale sign , which is disappointing. A small space on the first floor features well-dressed mannequins surrounded by outfits on rails, which is a nice touch. Neat signs and labels are used to attract attention - such as ‘Buy me now’ labels.