Premium prices require a premium experience - work to do here.
Linea delivers a watered-down Ted Baker circa autumn two years ago collection with floral, paisley and butterfly-print shirts. It also carries shawl-collar knits, Barbour-style jackets, and washed crinkled shirts with epaulette details. Criminal celebrates large-scale check vintage-wash shirts and delivers fashion denim while Howick embraces rugger tops and lambswool classic knits. Own label is interspersed with top brands like Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren and a much improved Peter Werth.
Staff were helpful and surprisingly plentiful for House of Fraser. However, when Drapers asked staff where to find certain brands, they suggested the town’s indies rather than offering up alternatives - which was somewhat bizarre. Departments are also clearly marked out and easy to shop. The exterior of the store, located on Promenade, leaves a lot to be desired though - there is no signage to indicate this is a national department store chain.
Own label is pricier than most and House of Fraser is clearly hoping to piggyback off its premium and genuine branded offer to drive margins. A hand-knitted Fair Isle in the Howick range is £75 - £30 above rivals although admittedly its production value is higher. Lambswool V-necks are reduced from £40 to £30, still above Bhs. Criminal checked shirts are too expensive at £45 and a quilted navy jacket is £79. Plain navy jeans from Linea are £45.