The cornerstone of the high street is doing a solid job for men despite a few VM issues.
- Upper Mall, The Glades
Product - 7
The strength of the M&S autumn 12 offer relies heavily on the Collezioni range, the quality of the knitwear and the variety of outerwear. None of the product is ripping up trees but the quality is good, details nicely considered and ranges well planned - the speckled Heritage knitwear is excellent (more should have been made of this) while the separate blazers have a well-made feel. Some of the more tired shapes M&S used to do are still evident but in the minority.
Value - 8
There is a reason why M&S still endures in the heart of the British shopper - the safety of the value. Quality yarns are used in both the aforementioned heritage knits (£45) and blazers (from £99), while good contrast-panel jackets are competitive at £69. Some of the Limited collection suits do look shiny at £129 but there are plenty of other decent tailoring options and the clear pricing structure makes sense to shoppers.
Experience - 7
Without a doubt the busiest store visited, the menswear area suffers from being able to be approached from three sides, meaning entering from the upper mall you are met with either the uninspiring underwear department or a wall of suiting. The racks are too high, making seeing through to the core range difficult. That said, props are used effectively in the Collezioni and Blue Harbour areas while the service, particularly in the fitting rooms, is second to none. No menswear in the windows is also a missed opportunity.