A messy Sale area and untidy store let down a solid product offer that provides good value for money.
- 116 North End
The M&S man isn’t likely to be looking for the most directional pieces, so it’s good to see the store staying true to its customer while offering some hero items. Blue Harbour offers smart, preppy basics including colourful check shirts, basic chinos and smart polos. Products that work hard, such as chinos made with luxe Supima cotton or ‘stormwear’ water and stain-resistant denim will appeal to the core M&S shopper. In addition, it’s good to see some nods to the season’s trends, with camouflage combat shorts and printed and embroidered T-shirts in the North Coast collection. Autograph, with its floral-print shirts and great summer mac is solid, but is hidden at the back of the store. Generally a safe offer.
More often than not M&S offers shoppers good value for money, walking the line between good quality and competitive pricing. It particularly succeeds in giving a broad price spectrum to allow different customers to buy into its collections. Take denim, for instance: Blue Harbour jeans are £19.50 and Autograph jeans are £25, while the ‘stormwear’ water and stain-resistant styles top £29.50. A basic quality T-shirt is good value at £17.50, while pure linen shorts are only £25 and a decent water-repellant mac is £99.
Arranging products first by brand and then by category makes this store easy to shop, with chinos, jeans and suits clearly in their own areas. Clear labelling draws attention to size, fit, and fabrication. However, the large space dedicated to menswear means some shelves, rails and display areas feel bare, with empty units. The front of the store is clean and tidy but areas towards the back feel neglected.