29 May 2024, 17:04
By Furniture News May 20, 2022

The Big Question: Where’s your favourite place to shop?

What do you think? From emerging trends to the latest business principles, Furniture News is setting out to gauge the trade’s feelings on a variety of industry-specific topics. Today, we’re asking: Where’s your favourite place to shop, and why?

Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds): My favourite place to shop is Designer Outlet Ashford in Kent. This is due the simplicity of the experience. You park centrally, it is a circuit of shops visible from all sides, you walk around, complete the purchase, maybe eat from the good selection of hospitality food outlets and then travel home. As you might well gather, I am not a browser, but more of a purpose-shopper

Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture): I’m not a great shopper, but I tend to enjoy those places that introduce retail theatre and allow you, as the customer, to get involved and try the products. Tech, cookshop and niche food stores are probably my favourites – places like Apple stores, Lakeland, and local farm shops

Rob Walker (Orbital Vision): Amazon – it has everything you could ever need

Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins): Physical, independent stores, definitely. I like to see what I’m buying (personally and professionally), pick things up, touch them, see and feel the value in the product. Independent stores are always more interesting than the national chains – not necessarily better, but always more interesting. No two are the same, and they have more personality. The owners and staff are always more invested in the business. For many, it’s born from a passion for something. They can have an ethos, a way of doing things and principles they believe in which defines what they do and how they do it, which corporate businesses lose in the pursuit of profit

John Conroy (Morrisofa Europe): Apple stores – the people are passionate about the product and the consumer, and the offering is so well integrated that it’s an all-round experience

Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers): It’s a terrible admission, but after 45 years of working in shops, I hate shopping and try to avoid it. I do however like to visit other retailers in the same market as us,  looking for ideas. My favourite is Housing Units in Manchester, which I think is a great business

Mike Murray (Land of Beds): I’d have to choose Next.co.uk, as the choice of product, delivery options and exchange process are excellent 

Mike Whitman (Iconography): I’ve recently moved house, so find myself doing a lot of DIY, and I’ve found that Screwfix have extremely good stock visibility online, along with an excellent click-and-collect experience. That, along with a simple omnichannel returns process, make them very easy to buy from

Paul Wray (Modern Outlook Furniture): Living in China, Taobao is probably my most favourite place to online shop. It’s very convenient, as I have a busy work life

Steve Adams (Mattress Online): Online, of course – anywhere that means I don’t need to go to a shopping centre! If I had to pick one it would be Spoke London – their chinos are customisable and fit perfectly

Wendy Martin Green (Peter Green Furnishers): I reside in the US, and have done so for almost 40 years. I recently moved house and was in the market for new furniture, and found a local Long Island store that funnily enough was just like my own – independent, family-run, with 60+ years of trading under their belt. Their massive range of inventory – some homegrown and some imported – appealed to my eclectic taste, and it was greatly educational for me to be on the other side of the fence and be the customer. I learned a lot of what to do – and what not to do – from a customer’s point of view

Dids Macdonald OBE (ACID): Fortnum & Mason – I love the packaging!

Royce Clark (Grampian Furnishers): I’m not a big fan of shopping overall, but I do enjoy visiting furnishing stores when I’m travelling around the world. In fact, I was in Southampton on the day of the Royal Wedding and chose to go to the new IKEA rather than watching it on TV. I ended up buying a frying pan!

This article featured in the April 2022 edition of Furniture News magazine.

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