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Rochdale indies taught art of window dressing

Two visual merchandising experts who learnt their trade at department store giant House of Fraser have helped 26 indies in the Rochdale area to overhaul their shop window displays in time for the Christmas trading period.

Phill Hill, formerly head of visual merchandising at HoF, and Lynda Murray, ex-HoF visual merchandising director, were contracted by Rochdale Council as part of its programme of support for regional newspaper Rochdale Observer’s Shop Local campaign, which encourages residents to support indie retailers.

Hill and Murray, who now run visual merchandising company International Visual, worked with stores including womenswear indie Sparkle, kidswear indie Babies in Bloom and footwear indie Laces.

Murray said: “A common problem was a lack of backdrop, so instead of focusing on the display you see through it and into the store. A lot of stores also try to put too many messages in the window, so we advised them to stick to a theme.”

Each store was then given a £50 grant from the council to put the advice into action. Murray and Hill returned two weeks later to judge the windows and decided menswear indie Denis Hope, womenswear store Best Dressed and bridalwear indie La Fleur had implemented their advice most effectively.

The winners will join International Visual on a tour of the most inspirational store windows in London in March.

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