High-end / age range 18 – 40 / prices £35 – £850 / size ranges 2 – 14
Garment colour palettes for this brand almost completely stick to neutrals of black, camel and cream. Occasionally prints are used but the base colour is often black. Materials are very high-quality and outerwear makes use of the finest leathers. Construction is of a high standard and made to be durable.
Lighting is key, the store employs spotlights and exposed lightbulbs to create an deconstructed, industrial space. A key feature of most branches of All Saints is the iconic vintage Singer sewing machine window display, where the machines appear to be stacked from floor to ceiling in rows in the shop-front windows. Exposed brick walls and bare wooden floors pull the effect together. Mannequins are pared back and some consist only of metal frames; placing all attention on the garments they’re displaying. Interestingly the store has a recognisable smell of leather due to the variety of classic leather jackets that the brand is known for. Packaging uses rustic brown paper swing tickets and typewriter-style fonts.
High-end / age range 16 – 25 / prices £13 – £2449 / size ranges XS – XL
As well as marketing an ‘own brand’ range of products, END is mostly known for housing a large variety of menswear brands including Nike, Adidas, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Converse and Canada Goose. Its main focus is outerwear and marketing campaigns are styled to an urban, masculine aesthetic. Because of the vast choice of designer brands, END doesn’t have an easily identifiable colour palette or design theme. Common colour themes though include navy blue, reds, orange, camo green, and bold, tropical and geometric prints on things from hoodies to rain macs and sneakers.
The relatively new Grainger Street store is brightly lit, with white walls and a bare concrete floor that reflect the light and create a clinical atmosphere. This is added to by the use of steel and glass in the fixtures and fittings. Faux marble lines the back walls where long shelves showing shoes from brands such as Adidas, Nike and Vans are lined up and evenly spaced. Packaging is in keeping with the ‘clean’ styling and shoes, for example, are packaged in a plain brown card box with the white END logo printed on the lid. Logo-printed white tissue paper and a sticker are used to encase the product, and a ‘thank you’ note is included. Customer service is attentive and shop assistants are few but always available.
Low-end / age range 15 – 50 / prices £1 – £35 / size ranges 4 – 20
Primark offers low-cost ‘fast fashion’ pieces that often aren’t made to last but can fulfil trends for one season. There are a large variety of design themes that are very trend-focused, alongside the mainstay ranges of denim and basics. Fabrics tend to be made from cheap synthetic fibres such as polyester and acrylic, blended with cotton. Screen and digitally printed motifs are common on t-shirts, sweaters and jeans. Because of the huge choice on offer there are a huge range of design themes, very trend-focused i.e. AW16 floral embroidery, chokers, velvet, bell sleeves.
The four-floor Newcastle branch is in-keeping with the design and layout of every Primark store. There are clearly defined sections for the different garment ranges e.g. sports, lingerie, denim, coats, and seasonal, trend-based pieces are always situated immediately beside the entrance. Mannequins are used in groups throughout the shop, often beside a unit with clusters of different pieces that can be put together to create the displayed look. Flimsy and inconsistent plastic hangers, some of which are broken, hold garments on rails, and often those displayed on central tables are strewn onto the floor.
Mid-range / age range 15 – 30 / prices £3.50 – £595 / size ranges 4 – 18
Topshop’s brand identity is very celebrity-focused, it utilises the ‘it’ models, actors and musicians of the moment to stay as relevant as possible and create a must-have quality for its garments. Pieces are generally designed and constructed to a high standard, and quite trend-focused. Fabrics feel high quality and are soft, durable or textured where necessary. Finishings and decorative effects such as applique are neat and in good condition.
An example of Topshop utilising celebrity image in its merchandising is the large-scale printed campaign photographs shown in the two-storey glass shop front. The monochrome images have a lot of impact and draw your attention to the store. Subjects of the photographs have included Cara Delevingne and Beyoncé for her Ivy Park athleisure label. Topshop has a seemingly constant sale event of its outgoing seasonal pieces that are placed in the front and central sections of the first floor of the store. Whilst the rest of the displays are neat and organised, this sale section is mismatched and only sorted by size, so swimwear may be marketed right beside winter coats. Products in this section are crammed messily onto rails.
Lower-end / age range 15 – 60 / prices £3.99 – £199 / size ranges XS – XL
H&M fits into the ‘fast fashion’ category of retailers, but unlike others it usually manages to manufacture its products to a good quality, and has taken particular care in sourcing its fibres, fabrics and labour in recent years. This is shown through the launch of its Conscious Collection, which uses responsibly sourced materials in creating “sustainable style”. H&M pieces with higher price points are often put in comparison to designer pieces, to show that the differences aren’t that huge. The brand has had a number of high-profile celebrity collaborations including Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and The Weeknd.
H&M’s Newcastle business underwent refurbishment in 2015 and was redesigned to make the shopping experience lighter, brighter and more open. White walls are stacked with neat rails or shelves that display accessories. A plain grey tiled floor throughout adds to the light and airy feel. Whilst there are multiple sizes of each product on display, the space doesn’t feel cluttered or overcrowded. Overall the shop manages to create a feeling of a mid-range level brand with its styling and sophisticated visual merchandising.
Mid-range / age range 16 – 40 / prices £6 – £100 / size ranges 6 – 18
This brand caters for women, men, children and babies with a wide array of fun, modern styles on offer. It seems to specialise in ‘going-out’ womenswear which is reflected in its frequent use of bold prints, bright colours and eye-catching use of metallics and texture.