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FastFreddy2

Shopping At Evans? Maybe Not ......

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I've used their Cardiff, Newport and Cwmbran outlets, and ordered on-line without any problems what-so-ever. The staff tended to be more mature ladies, perhaps London shops have opted for younger staff as an image statement.

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perhaps London shops have opted for younger staff as an image statement.

Evans, along with many other UK retails chains, are not doing so well they can afford to do anything other than welcome EVERY potential customer walking through the front door.

I have some personal experience of himself, having witnessed him at first hand at a night club a couple of years into his waning celebrity status. It would not surprise me to find this is a bit of a 'storm-in-a-teacup' with matters reported, blown out of all proportion to reality.

Our own Heelman500 had an interesting and accommodating conversation in their Westfield (London) branch if I remember, and he couldn't have been looked after any better than he was. B) My feeling is, this was possibly an isolated event that the newspaper may have made into something much larger than was the case.

Evans must know they sell a lot of womens shoes to men, for them to wear. Why would they want to stop doing that? :huh:

Edited by FastFreddy2

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On 5/27/2013 at 1:11 AM, FastFreddy2 said:

 

Evans, along with many other UK retails chains, are not doing so well they can afford to do anything other than welcome EVERY potential customer walking through the front door.

 

I have some personal experience of himself, having witnessed him at first hand at a night club a couple of years into his waning celebrity status. It would not surprise me to find this is a bit of a 'storm-in-a-teacup' with matters reported, blown out of all proportion to reality.

 

Our own Heelman500 had an interesting and accommodating conversation in their Westfield (London) branch if I remember, and he couldn't have been looked after any better than he was. B) My feeling is, this was possibly an isolated event that the newspaper may have made into something much larger than was the case.

 

Evans must know they sell a lot of womens shoes to men, for them to wear. Why would they want to stop doing that? :huh:

Looking over this post I ventured to find out how they (Evans) were doing.

I didn't know, but Evans had been owned by Arcadia Group (ex Burton Group) since the early 1970's and had done very well for a long time, expanding internationally. Arcadia went down the toilet (went into administration) in December 2020. The writing was on the wall for the floundering company/group for some time, and many were surprised the infamous group head managed to keep his cash-cow going as long as he did. One of the most reviled people in Europe, and certainly the UK. 

Some good news in that the Eans brand has been bought by Australian group City Chic Collective who are in the same line of business. Bricks and mortar are not part of the £23M deal, but the brand name, website and wholesale arm of the business comes under control of the new buyer. A strong suggestion the business will stay alive, though probably via mail-order.

City Chic sell womens shoes up to a size EU44/UK9.5 which could be useful to some. Can't say their styles are that attractive but they do have a reasonably attractive ankle boot.

 

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AU$50 looks like £28.38 at todays exchange rates.

The real loss for us is the experience and 'welcome' from staff in the stores. As reported 7 years ago, they couldn't be more helpful. This kind of support is to be cherished wherever it is found. Currently still trading, though stores are shut due to lockdown of course.

 

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I've never been sure of what to make of Evans, having bought a couple of items there in person, and a couple more online.   The business seems to have contracted steadily for several years (long before the current Arcadia problems started to bite), with most local branches closing, although 'Evans' sometimes maintained a presence elsewhere as an in-store concession, with limited stock.   It always seemed to me that what was available instore was often different from that sold online.

Some years ago, it did sell some footwear in UK11 wide/extra wide, although the items I tried (with one bought) ran small.   Conversely, its UK10 wide/extra wide boots I tried usually ran large, but were not my style.   And the one pair of loafers I bought in UK10 extra wide, although of a good style, were certainly not a fit either.   There has seemingly been nothing larger than a (claimed) UK10 for some time now, and very little of that other than frumpy.   Unless in a sale, prices always seemed high for the quality on offer.

As to staff and service, the majority of the customers were (unsurprisingly) middle-aged or older and with little interest in style.   The staff appeared cut from the same cloth - a few bored-looking younger women excepted.   It never seemed to me to be welcoming to men, but not overtly hostile either.   

I suppose that, if one was after a 'safe' style of female footwear in a UK 9 or 10 wide that was rarely available elsewhere, Evans had some merit.   But whether its new owners will maintain (and even expand) such a range remains to be seen.   The Aussie boots (leather??) on sale at around £28 are not bad - but at the original price of double that, hardly good value.  My money is on ASOS for now in terms of its recent/current offerings of larger sizes of fair quality at a modest price.

 

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I suspect that many larger women (and men) are uncomfortable shopping in places where physical attributes are linked to the type of clothing or goods sold. Of course the other side of that is there are significantly more obese people around than there used to be. Maybe true of taller people I would think, though probably considerably less so.

The upshot to the growth in 'oversize' customers, is that may more general outlets will have sizes that compete with Evans, and have modern styling. I have seen sizes of 20 and 22 in Asda for example. Keeping of larger sizes by online outlets who can buy smaller quantities and keep them in one place, has benefits unlike high street outlets that must buy in larger numbers to keep stocks in bricks and mortar stores. Basically, online selling of larger sizes is a more efficient and probably a more attractive way to retail them for the customer. We need to look no further than ASOS for hard evidence of this. Small wonder then, the City Chic Collective have no interest in the stores. If Top Shop can't make enough money selling to the young using high street shops, Evans had no chance with a significantly smaller customer base. And one constantly eroded by supermarket competition.

High street retail moves on ..... Or in this case, moves out .....  

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6 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

...

The upshot to the growth in 'oversize' customers, is that may more general outlets will have sizes that compete with Evans, and have modern styling. I have seen sizes of 20 and 22 in Asda for example.

...  

I assume that is 'dress' sizes, not shoes!  :blink:

As to potential reluctance of larger (etc) people to shop instore at specialist retailers, is it not the case that many of them either have little choice in the matter and/or require certainty because of their particular size/shape/fit requirements?   The very reason for bricks-and-mortar Evans shops.   That said, I suppose that the ease of buying online and returning unsuitable items encourages that shopping process, but it doesn't suit everyone.

Some 15 months ago, I wanted a men's jacket of a particular style and colour and found just the one in Next, at a good price too.   None seemed to be in branch stock within reach, if anywhere, which would have been my preferred way to try and buy.   Mail order was the only solution and, being wary of sizing, I bought my usual size and (just in case) the next larger.   Just as well I did - the larger one was a much better fit, so the smaller went back (via local branch).   A painless exercise, as it happened, but not as easy as buying from my local branch stock.

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7 hours ago, Puffer said:

I assume that is 'dress' sizes, not shoes!  :blink:  Yessssss!

As to potential reluctance of larger (etc) people to shop instore at specialist retailers, is it not the case that many of them either have little choice in the matter and/or require certainty because of their particular size/shape/fit requirements?   The very reason for bricks-and-mortar Evans shops.   That said, I suppose that the ease of buying online and returning unsuitable items encourages that shopping process, but it doesn't suit everyone.

I think you might be a little out of touch with the buying public.

Bricks and mortar shops for niche markets are a thing of the past. Mail order has been picking up speed and girth for more than 10 years. As I said, Top Shop can't survive on shop sales, and some of the reason it went into administration, was it's lack of online services. Basically, it wasn't up to the job. Why is someone going to go into an Evans store to buy clothing or shoes, when something at less than half the price (often a third) can either be picked up during the weekly shop (Asda/Tesco) or sent from ASOS directly to someones house for free? 

Aside from people basically being lazy, who has the time to go to a store for clothes shopping when it can all be done online? 

It's true your preference was to go to a store, but as you found even a big chain like Next doesn't carry all styles and all sizes. Using the mail option was painless, by your own admission. How many times do you think a shopper will find themselves using the same route, before that route (mail order) becomes the regular way for them to shop? You know too, parking charges and parking restrictions in most towns make personal visits to some malls is pretty onerous these days. (Avoid Reading at all costs!)

 

From about the age of 16, I used to visit a town called St Albans, quite a famous place historically speaking. A market town with a Cathedral. VERY expensive place to live, once second only to London. It had everything except maybe a large department store, which given the look of the high street, would have been very inappropriate.

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I literally can't remember the last time I went there, 5-7 years perhaps? Horrible place to drive to. Difficult parking, and not cheap to park either. When I first used to visit, the footfall of the place was so high, you could have opened any shop and done well. The place was always busy/bustling. Not any longer.

One of the last times I remember driving through the high street, there were empty units I think now taken over by, of all retailers, Poundland. (How the mighty fall.)  A quick check for Evans in St Albans reveals the concession used to be inside BHS..... The nearest next store, Borehamwood, inside Tesco's.....

Mail order for anything not sold in supermarkets or (expensive) malls, and the demise of the high street shop due to high rents and rates, is just about written in stone. Evans was always going to be a casualty as shopping habits have changed. If large internationals like Top Shop can't survive in bricks and mortar retail locations with them largely servicing a demographic with mostly disposable income, niche shops like Evans didn't and don't have a snowflake in hell's chance of survival in the high street. 

 

 

 

Edited by FastFreddy2

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I think you have read far too much into my last.   I was not (and am not) championing personal shopping in the high street over mail/internet ordering.   I too find remote purchasing very convenient (and usually cheaper or at least more competitive) for almost everything I buy apart from food, newspapers and (heavier/bulkier) building materials and the like.   And this despite being an easy 10-minute walk from such of the principal (and other) high street shops as remain.

But clothes/shoes do present a different situation if one wants to be sure of style and fit.   Which is more convenient will surely depend on the purchaser's attitude and whatever the competing outlets offer.   In the case of Evans, I was suggesting that its main clientele  (ladies of a 'certain age' - and 'certain size') would probably prefer to shop in person, especially for the items hard to get elsewhere - but that luxury is increasingly denied them.   And had my 'Next jacket' been in stock at the shop ten minutes away, I would have strolled down there to buy it, with less trouble than the (admittedly easy) internet job - which still involved in-store return to avoid cost.   (It wasn't in stock because it was a limited-stock item, I think discounted on clearance.)

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23 hours ago, Puffer said:

I think you have read far too much into my last.   I was not (and am not) championing personal shopping in the high street over mail/internet ordering.   discounted on clearance.)

Perhaps I had. ;)

I'm going to suggest that 'women of  certain age' or those with physical attributes many would not find attractive (ie overweight) may well enjoy the intimacy of a small retail outlet, but I rather fancy they don't. Mrs Freddy, now two dress sizes larger than she was when we did that walk in a church, doesn't any longer do 'dress up' in a shop, and hasn't for more than ten years. Although I don't think she needs to be, she (and many like her) are embarrassed about their shape and would not try on clothing anywhere someone else could see them. Marks and Sparks used to be (30 years ago) front runners in the returns initiative. Sure others might allow returns, but M+S was a leader in allowing returns up to a month after purchase. (Asda now has 100 days.) But not every outlet did/does. 'SELECT' I suspect went to the wall because you had two weeks for returns, and got a credit note. Online returns forced them to do refunds of course.

So my 'local' experience suggests the Evans customer is much happier buying online. More discreet. ;)

The one product this should not have happened to of course, shoe purchases. In a shop, it's possible to try 20 styles in a very short space of time, and assess if any will actually fit. Online shopping and returns can be delivered free, and returned free. (Well done ASOS.) But having had some recent experience of doing this, I can attest it's not without drawbacks. I currently have something like 12 pairs here 'bought' to try with a view to keeping. (Wrong side of £400 I don't mind telling you.) All but two pairs (maybe  three) going back. That said, I doubt I would have been inclined to try them all in the shop - even if it were possible. I think the 12 pairs are from 4 different stores, none of which have bricks and mortar stores. If only I liked M+S shoes, easy job shopping for footwear. (Assuming the stores were open of course.)  

Edited by FastFreddy2

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Does someone read this forum?

Daily Mail - today.

 

The rapidly changing face of the High Street: These 30 leading retailers went bust, changed hands, moved online or disappeared for good in 2020.

 

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I cannot recall where I read it, maybe a local business publication, but pre-pandemic, there was talk that the younger generation was getting back into stores.  Seems since Mom and Dad learned how to do the internet thing, it's no longer cool, so they are going back to stores.  Also, instant gratification plays a large part.  That said, the pandemic put an end to most of that.  Will be interesting to see if the trend returns.  That said, the youth movement, if sustainable, may still not be enough to save brick and motar stores.

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6 hours ago, ronc said:

Also, instant gratification plays a large part.

That's an interesting point. I wonder if loans, credit cards and other financial support (parents) encourage spending?  I have noticed, more and more online outlets are offering finance to help stimulate sales. "Buy now pay later." Or in my mind; buy now, pay twice as much later. With finance incredibly cheap at the moment, I wonder whether being seen to 'splash the cash' (someone elses cash) is an ingredient?

Part of what I used to enjoy (and still the case actually) was/is the social aspect of walking around shops where it might be possible to meet friends and family out doing the same. One of the things I noticed when I looked at recent photo's of St Albans, was a large coffee shop/bar at the top of the high street , with tables and chairs outside. Something slightly Mediterranean going on where people with disposable income get to go out  to a commercial hub and indulge in social activity too. I've seen it all over coastal Spain, but right next to a busy road with buses passing every couple of minutes? I suppose a social hub is a social hub, wherever it is.

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I still think that it is too easy to be black and white here.   Yes, lockdowns aside, shopping in bricks-and-mortar shops is in decline for the good (or regrettable) reasons already stated.   Many people do not have much of a choice because the right shops, if they exist at all, are not within easy reach.   And this is quite apart from the greater choice and probable cost-saving of doing business with an establishment that is not conveniently local, unless one is lucky.

Perhaps, as suggested, the 'online' trend is indeed reversing slightly because younger people no longer feel it is as 'cool' to do so?   And other (mostly older) people - particularly those less computer-savvy or distrustful of online transactions - would return to the High Street if they could, mobility etc permitting.   Both these categories also traditionally enjoy (or would like to enjoy) the socialising aspect that can come with a shopping trip and include refeshments, some sight-seeing or a cinema visit etc.   Indeed, which activity drives the other - visiting London primarily to see the Tower or Buckingham Palace, or going to Oxford Street?   I guess that, in the middle, there are the typically cash-rich, time-poor working people who find armchair shopping increasingly advantageous and whose socialising is largely at home, especially when children and babysitters are a limiting factor.

My wife has sensitive eyesight and dislikes in-store shopping of any kind as she often finds the lighting uncomfortable.   But, although she does buy all sorts of things online, she says she much prefers to buy things like clothes and shoes in-store, where she can see the colour, style and quality for herself - and of course try everything for size and fit.   The same applies to much of the material and wool etc that she uses for her prolific sewing and knitting activity, where in-store browsing and careful selection can be critical.   She recognises that her local choices are declining and wishes that the situation was otherwise - and I very much doubt that she is a lone voice in this wilderness.

Maybe views here are tinged with the nature of our 'specialist' requirements.   Male shopping for female footwear, at least, is not so easy or anonymous when done in-store - and online outlets for this are a boon.   But that is but one constraint.

 

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I will wholly agree, online shopping doesn't suit everyone, and in some cases is the least desirable option.

Sadly, the world is changing. Rents and rates have become exorbitant, especially when a town council is involved. Retail 'parks' or malls are becoming the norm for at least two reasons I can think of.  For the retailer, potentially less expensive without what seems to be spiralling rents and rates in council run high street venues. Out of town parks or malls do not attract premium rates, nor premium rents. For the consumer, shopping in a covered space amongst a wide variety of retailers is much more comfortable than trudging around uncovered streets. Gone are the days of people getting wet while shopping, being an acceptable part of (say) food shopping. No longer.

There is obviously a breaking point where footfall and sales don't support rent, rates, and staff costs - before profits are even considered.  When House of Fraser, Debenhams, Mothercare and so many others can't make a profit in a bricks and mortar environment, it might not be because there is no demand for them, but there just isn't enough income to pay all the running costs which seems to ramp up every year too. I have priced up the cost of setting up a shop several times, and once, with two prospective business partners, priced up retail properties in Brighton. The costs of getting to the point of opening a shop, were frightening. I've a pal who opened a bar, and to get the front doors opened: £80k. Rent and rates to go on top.

For thousands of years, 'retail' has been centralised in a town or village centre, so shoppers only went to the one location. Travel was difficult and time consuming. We now can travel easily and cheaply. Our tendency is to shop in bigger venues, because they have greater choice, and greater choice too, for food and refreshment. I suspect that these have had their best times too. INTU, a group that owns several large malls went into administration last June, two months into the first lockdown. Doubtless, others will follow. These management groups depend on rents to finance their business, and with shops closed - no rents. (And some of those shops may never open again either.)

Conversely, someone starting in online retail (done that) is easy and very very cheap. Start-up costs are negligible beyond stock purchase, and if you can get a 30 day credit account with your supplier ..... You may never need to use your own money either.

The times they are a changing, and I would agree, not necessarily for the consumer. 

   

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