Impressive footwear areas provide good spaces to browse but prices are not so on the money.
For women, a separate section highlights the most trend-led pieces signposted as ‘Get the Look’, including good examples of the espadrille, raffia and wooden-style wedges and heels. The Runway Collection also catches the eye while a huge selection of ballet pumps and flat sandals will please any Next customer. The men’s offer is equally wide, with the Italia range of formal shoes looking strong and some great interpretations of the key menswear trends. All in all the Next product offer is more impressive than expected.
A pleasing range of prices means men can buy formal shoes including brogues and Oxfords for as little as £24, rising to £95, which provides a good price architecture for the Next customer but obviously has implications for quality. Some prices are slightly high, with basic ballet pumps starting at £18 compared with options at the likes of Topshop for £16. More premium ranges such as the Runway Collection go up to £60, but the level of quality compared with Topshop’s equivalent, which is only £5 more expensive, doesn’t match up.
Drapers was impressed with both the men’s and women’s merchandising and large dedicated areas, which are well laid out, full of seats and create a more premium feel. Shoes are merchandised throughout the store and arranged by trend or style, with large size ranges clearly displayed (6½ to 12 for men).
Staff were on hand and helpful, and signage throughout directs customers to new stock, wider fits and extra sizes.