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New Look, SouthGate shopping centre

Maxi dresses stand out, but the trend-led area should be larger.

Product 5

New Look has backed maxi dresses with gusto for spring 11, from tiered to bandeau styles. This season’s calf length has been well interpreted on floral skirts, while crocheted waistcoats and tunics with elasticated wrists nod to the 1970s. But there are far too many versions of the latter. Cropped and flared trousers catch the eye. The category-led area disappoints, with awful animal-print polyester parkas in the £10-off outerwear section and too many harem pants.

Experience 5

Half of the ground floor displays trend-led product, and the rest category-led styles, while upstairs covers specialist areas. More space could be given to trends, as some seem to be missing. But each section is clearly defined and the store is tidy.

Value 6

Despite New Look’s addition of 99p across its pricing, basics still come in cheap, with racerback vests at £3.99 and strappy vests at £1.99. Its trouser offer is one of the most competitive on the high street, starting from £19.99, but maxi dresses less so, starting at £26.99 - rivals offer similar prices. Basic knits are £10.99 and bootcut polyester black trousers are £9.99 - but the quality reflects the prices. The ones for £21.99 look much better.

Score 16

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