High-quality styles are let down by a clinical shopfit and higher pricing than competitors.
Clarks delivers a great selection of boots in an appealing palette of claret, olive, brown, navy and black. Leather boots look excellent quality with durable buckle and strap detail, while navy, mid-leg boots with a suede sock covering the foot of the shoe are accomplished in terms of design. Ballet flats in the Sale section with muslin bow and disc vamp detail are among the best seen during Drapers’ survey. Chelsea boots with stripey wooden heels inject a directional edge.
Clarks’ clinical white box design complements the retailer’s functional product and fitting service, but it lacks the homely and comforting feel that should come hand-in-hand with the retailer’s legacy and reputation. Clarks displays shoes in pairs, which wastes space, and lays boot styles on their side if they are too tall for middle shelves, which means they make zero impact and look messy. The staff were busy, and some customers tried styles from the display rather than the stockroom.
A Sale shelf brings product into reasonably priced territory. The ballet flat with muslin bow is marked down from £44.99 to £24.99, which is easier to swallow. Sturdy biker styles are £89.99, ankle boots with disc embellishment £69.99 and suede boots are £99.99. Clarks’ pricing is high compared with mainstream competitors like Marks & Spencer and Next but is justified by higher-quality fabrication and materials. A claret lace-up desert boot catches the eye but is expensive at £69.99.