Next interprets the key trends for its customers, but comes up short against M&S’s breadth.
A pillarbox red double-breasted coat with splashes of orange on jumpers is as far – and rightly so – as Next goes with this season’s colour trend. Focus is placed on mustard and burgundy shades, while houndstooth, animal, paisley and floral prints lift the collection. Shift dresses, wide high-waisted trousers, pleated midi-length skirts and pretty, on-the-knee flared skirts tick important silhouette trends, while smock tops and pussy-bow blouses cement the 1970s trend.
Next appears to be adopting the M&S strategy of enticing younger shoppers with its window display – showcasing shorts and a flared, short tweed skirt – but actually offering a much broader collection inside. Surprisingly, no one approached Drapers, but the service in the changing rooms was one of the best: customers can press a button to request assistance and the lights dim as you leave and brighten as you enter.
Basic, super-soft cotton-mix jumpers are great value at £15, as are burgundy, slim-cut trousers for £26. A red coat is also a great investment at £58, although the pleated mid-length skirt seems too much at £46. Macs at £58 aren’t bad, but shiny stitching cheapens the product. Shift dresses are good value at £32, as are the pretty flared skirts for £28.