The gambit of plain knits, short-sleeved checked shirts and combat trousers looks more like the offering of a provincial Burton store and disappoints. Further in to the store, more sophisticated stories take in long-line knits and grey tailoring displayed with punchy pink and navy shirts with more experimental necklines.
The grey tiled floor and white walls are the blank canvas on which Persian rugs, recessed white cabinets and free-standing black wardrobe units paint a picture that casts its references wide for eclectic embellishments on the white box formula.
Just over half of the department, from the front and through the shoppers’ natural left hand route into the store is taken up with the core offer while around the back of the main unit and out of sight from the top of the stairs are the more challenging pieces. Beyond that, there is a lifestyle feel to the store with a large area around the till devoted to nightwear and undies. And a shame that there is no dedicated section for its “&” denim line
Whatever else, H&M continues to be unflinchingly value-led and the only store to go head on with New Look. Typical of this offer is a khaki T-shirt with a half-placket, epaulettes and flap pockets which is a good update of a basic and, at only £10, great value. A herringbone grey tonic 2sb is just £40, a perforated grey cardigan is only £20, a cuffed grey shirt with penny round collar is £15 and a waxed cotton biker jacket is £35.