13-15 Sidney Street
Next has one of the broadest ranges of women’s footwear of the stores visited, with takes on this season’s key styles including the raffia wedge, the chunky block-heel ankle-strap sandal and the pointy-toe court heel. In men’s footwear the offer is much smaller and focuses primarily on formal styles, from leather loafers to brogues.
A broad selection of styles are available for women, from sandals to trainers and boots. Most of those on display are a size five or six, although - like Clarks - half sizes and wide fits are provided. In the men’s department, two or three colour options are available in key styles, including desert boots. Sizes start at 6½ in men’s and go up to a size 12.
For its key fashion pieces, prices are bang in the middle of those at Topshop and New Look, with tan wedges for £45 compared with New Look’s £30 and Topshop’s £60 styles - although the latter does have leather uppers. Suede pointy-toe court shoes are £28, on average £10 more expensive than New Look’s, while ballet pumps with leather uppers are £28. For men the price architecture is quite wide, starting at £28 for canvas espadrilles and going up to £75 for patent-leather brown brogues that are made in Italy.
Shoppers are approached immediately in the women’s section and asked if they need assistance; unfortunately, this isn’t the case in the much smaller men’s area. Both departments only have one mirror each, which is inadequate in the larger women’s area.
Visual Merchandising 6/10
All mannequins are dressed with different shoe styles. In the women’s department, the shoe room at the rear is clearly signposted and the display is immaculately clean and tidy. Upstairs, the men’s area is a disappointment, as it is hidden from view and there are a few shoes missing from the display table.