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Hit or miss - Chester

Chester city centre has had some tough competition in recent years.

The blossoming of nearby Liverpool, which is just a 45-minute train ride away, following its year as European Capital of Culture (and a handy injection of £1bn to build the vast Liverpool One shopping development) has meant the smaller city’s stores have to work harder to keep their locals shopping locally. The beautiful Roman centre, all cobbled streets and jaunty Tudor-style buildings, has a certain charm compared with its near neighbour’s shiny glass shopping centre, but as we all know, that alone won’t get people spending. What I was looking for was stores to tick off all the season’s trends and more, offer some great shopping experiences and push some competitive pricing too.

Certainly many of the stores were on the same page in terms of trends and covered many of the must-haves for the coming season. Our inclement weather resulted in a predictable focus on boots for both women and men, with every studded, brogue-detailed and buckled variety you could imagine. Berry tones, leopard prints and updates on simple courts were all spotted too, while men’s focused on sole interest, desert boots and plimsolls.

But I must admit that what I felt was lacking this season was stores that are pushing the boundaries a little more and offering something to trump their competitors, whether they be on the same high street or a short journey away. Few of Chester’s stores offered a great shopping experience, with customer service, or the lack thereof, letting some down. Tired storefits, a skewed offer for women compared with men and no points of difference also lost them marks.

So who was a hit and who was a miss this autumn 12? Read on…

The stores were visited on October 3 and 4.

Marks for each category are out of 10


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