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Hit or miss - The Trafford Centre, Manchester

Growing up near the Trafford Centre in Manchester, my friends and I relished the opportunity to be let loose in a place where we could spend our small savings while our parents hid in the food court, safe in the knowledge we couldn’t run amok within the confines of the building.

And we weren’t the only ones; the free parking and easy-to-reach location attracts more than 35 million visitors each year.

So it was with some surprise that on returning as an adult I found the shopping centre to be far less expansive than I remembered. It was obvious that despite the large number of shops, the actual units are quite small. One of the key things to keep in mind as a retailer there is how to work within the limited space, and this is one of the main things I was looking for during this season’s Hit or Miss survey. The obvious winners were the stores which managed to keep a light, airy feel, with enough room both to show off key trends and for shoppers to manoeuvre around. With a carefully edited product mix and clever use of merchandising, it’s possible for these branches to have nearly the same impact on customers as their giant flagship sister stores.

Ticking off the key trends also proved successful, with plenty of stores going above and beyond the expected monochrome, metallic and floral to deliver surprising ranges catering to a wide breadth of tastes. Those that scored lower generally did so because of an inability to resist the lure of an early season Sale, to the detriment of their new product. A little more bravery is needed from the high street, particularly in a destination like the Trafford Centre, where customers come prepared to spend. I know I did.

So without further ado, please view the winners and losers of this season’s spring 13 womenswear Hit or Miss.

Stores were visited on March 17 and 18.

Marks for each category are out of 10.

  • Have you visited any of these retailers’ other stores recently? Tell us what you thought by going to www.drapersonline.com/fashion
  • View the full report here

 

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