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Hit or miss: Zara - 16/30

Some less-than-impressive product here, combined with a neglected store environment.

  • 21 North End, Centrale Shopping Centre

Product: 6

Sometimes the product is a hit, but other times a miss this season. Core smart and wardrobe staples, including light blazers, loose knits and simple polo shirts are decent but not necessarily inspiring. Sometimes more trend-led pieces work, such as an acid-wash denim jacket, interesting printed T-shirts including a snakeskin pattern and versions
of the season’s bold prints. But a try at a punky look, with cheap leather and bad studding, over-ripped denim jeans and the strange combination of a smart pinstripe shirt given a casual contrast ethnic-style fabric collar, just doesn’t work.

Value: 7

Zara’s success often lies in the competitive nature of its price architecture and customers tend to get more bang for their buck here. For instance, a key washed-out denim jacket is £45, the same price as Topman’s but of a superior quality.
A lovely on-trend denim shirt with contrast patterned pockets is a well-priced £29.99, while basic T-shirts are good value at £9.99. Elsewhere, smart blazers don’t work as hard, coming in at £89 but compromising on quality.

Experience: 3

The store is light and airy, with a generally good shopfit that creates a slightly more upmarket feel, although rails and display areas are spaced out in a way that feels a little sparse. The changing rooms are a real disappointment. At the time of visiting they were completely unmanned, with fixtures and fittings falling apart and several door handles broken or missing. One cubicle was full of rubbish and empty boxes. Clothes waiting to be re-hung on the shop floor were left on the ground or piled up messily on the shelves.


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