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Hit or miss: Footwear Spring 14

Cambridge is the third and final location for our spring 14 inspection of the high street, and this week it’s footwear that is scrutinised.

The thriving shopping district nestled in the heart of Cambridge offers tourists, students and local shoppers some of the biggest footwear names on the high street. Grand Arcade, on St Andrew’s Street, is the city’s newest shopping centre and has more than 60 premium and high street retailers, anchored by a flagship John Lewis store. Opened in March 2008, St Andrew’s links to the older Lion Yard shopping centre, which is home to 47 retailers. Lion Yard opened in 1975, but was refurbished in the early 2000s.

The Grafton shopping mall, a 10-minute walk across Christ’s Pieces park in the city centre, offers plenty of high street big-hitters as well as cafes, restaurants and a cinema to encourage shoppers to linger.The bustling city centre also has a host of well-known stores and independent retailers scattered around the vibrant Market Square.

Retailers in Cambridge offer a wide range of this season’s strongest footwear styles, from ankle-strap block-heel sandals, pointy-toe court heels and tasselled textured loafers for women, to colour-pop leather brogues, suede desert boots and patent loafers for men.

There was stellar customer service from most of the shops visited, with friendly staff more than willing to help shoppers in store. Well-dressed windows were also seen across the board, with shops ensuring a range of key styles were on display to turn the heads of passers-by. However, one area where retailers fell down was the layout and general tidiness of the shops, some of which were untidy and difficult to navigate.

Cambridge’s stores were scored, as with our previous footwear surveys, based on their specific spring 14 offer and in-store experience, including customer service, store layout and visual merchandising. Points for value considered the quality of the product compared with the competitiveness of its pricing.

If you missed our womenswear or menswear surveys, you can find them at www.drapersonline.com/insight

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