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Austin Reed

The tailoring specialist’s collection and store experience is anything but special.

While tailoring is the retailer’s forte, there’s more to the range than blazers and trousers. The more casual end of the collection is an exercise in safe and simple separates with cotton rib jumpers complete with elbow patches, basic polos, a padded jacket, checked shirts and sb blazers proving no more than adequate and basic. The suits are better conceived with a good range of different fabrics, cuts and style for every budget.

While it’s easier to see where the money’s been spent in the tailoring range, with the casual pieces it’s more of a stretch to warrant some of the prices. A basic polo is £40, steep for such standard design while a navy padded jacket is an eye-wateringly bold £169 considering the barely perceptible added value. Suiting provides more bang for the buck with good fabrics and finish making the £199 to £550 price range a sensible level.

The in-store experience really lets Austin Reed down. The stronger suiting is squirrelled away at the back of the store while the casual range is left up front alongside a rail of Sale product. Further inside, random CC womenswear pieces from the adjoining unit break up the flow. Poorly stocked rails look bare in this area while the crammed tailoring section heaves with wall-to-wall full price, circling huge groaning markdown rails. Despite the shop assistant’s good knowledge it’s not a premium enough environment to encourage a customer to spend £550 on a suit.

View the full report here

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