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Hit or miss - Croydon

Croydon’s retail profile has had a tough time in recent years.

The city centre was hit hard by the 2011 riots, with the devastating fire at the 145-year-old furniture store House of Reeves emerging as one of the most memorable and poignant images. One year later, 150-year-old department store Allders, whose flagship stood in the centre of the town, fell into administration. Combine that with sparkling new shopping destinations popping up all over London and Croydon has been on a steady decline.

All that is to change however, with the recent announcement that property firms Westfield and Hammerson are joining forces to redevelop the town centre into a shiny £1bn, 2 million sq ft shopping hub, giving both the Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres a full-scale makeover.

While the future might be looking up, what’s Croydon like now? Its main shopping area is divided into two central zones. The somewhat tired Whitgift Centre, which opened in 1968 but was given a facelift in the 1990s, houses the likes of Topman, River Island and Superdry. Across the road sits the Centrale, opened in 2004 with department stores such as House of Fraser plus French Connection and Zara.

The revamp is much needed, as even the newer Centrale doesn’t quite hit the mark now. When Drapers visited it was clear that although the newer centre is more impressive, it was decidedly quieter than its more run-down neighbour.

Although some of the shopfits might not be up to scratch, many of the stores offered a solid spread of trend-led product and core wardrobe basics to please the Croydon shopper. Spring 13 is the season of print and pattern, with all manner of designs on offer covering summery short-sleeved shirts and shorts, while a refocus on jeans over chinos was clear.

Stores that did well were those that ticked off all the key looks but also pushed a few of their own, offering a good point of difference while balancing a level of quality with competitive prices. Turn the page to see which were the hits and misses in Croydon this season.

Stores were visited on March 26 and 27.

Marks for each category are out of 10.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • What is the point of this feature? Last week the Trafford Centre this week Croydon. But guess what? The same high street names each time. What a waste of space. Go and do some legwork. Find some indies and write a feature that's worthwhile.

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  • Thank you for your comment – at Drapers we value all our readers’ feedback.

    We speak regularly to our readers who work in large high street retailers who tell us the seasonal high street hit or miss features for womenswear, menswear and footwear & accessories are an incredibly useful gauge of how their own businesses are doing compared to the competition.

    We visit high streets all over the country to get a real feel for what the biggest retailers are doing: what their product is like, what value they are offering and what experience their customers are receiving all contribute to the overall score. This is one of the ways we serve our large retailer readers in the same way we have the indie hub and brand features for independents, fashion week reviews for premium buyers and reports from fabric fairs for designers to name but a few of the range of features we offer all our different readers.

    We are always strivingto improve our content so would happily listen to your suggestions for features that would be of more benefit to you.

    All the best,

    Ian Wright
    Fashion Director, Drapers

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