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Blue Inc, Arndale Centre

Some inspired designs nestle among the lads’ wear. The shop is jumbled but staff are friendly.

Product 6

The bulk of looks focus on cheeky lads’ wear – slogan T-shirts and Fred Perry-inspired polos sit beside bright fine-gauge cardigans, parkas, nylon jackets and heavy knits with graphic-print details. However, Blue Inc has some genuinely original styles on the rails. A chambray polo with red, white and blue-trimmed collars and cuffs is a standout piece while some of the crisp cotton checked shirts go toe-to-toe with any of the retailer’s competitors.

Experience 5

The bustling, open-fronted shop resembles some traditional discount formats but inside the clobber has a distinctive look. Shoppers are not allowed to take clothes hangers into the changing rooms – this feels like a low-rent security measure but the news was delivered with a warm apology that softened the hassle of chucking items on the floor.

Value 8

As the quality and richness of design edges up, so too do the prices but there are still plenty of bargains to be had. Shirts are £13 or two for £20, a zip-through heavy knit is £35 and engineered jeans just £27. The checked shirts undercut most rivals’ versions at £20 while the same price for a grey 2sb suit
jacket beggars belief, even if the garment in question is fairly shapeless. Outerwear is good value with quilted parkas at £50 and multi-pocket nylons from just £10.

Score 19

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