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What is it? Debenhams advertises itself as Britainís favourite department store. I would describe it as Britainís most average department store. I am speaking from my experiences at the Swindon store; the other ones I visit tend to be slightly better. Debenhams has itís own range of products and high street concessions in it. There are 104 stores.
The Store Location: This is probably the best thing about it. It has a town centre location, which happens to be right by my bus stop, which is great when I have a 30-minute wait for the next bus. It is a 1960ís style building that has seen better days. A lot of town centre stores seem to be like this but the newer stores in out of town malls are much nicer. I remember going in when I was a little girl and back then I was kind of quaint. Now it just seems old-fashioned. When it first opened, it must have been a very nice place to shop.
Inside: It opens up directly onto the cosmetics hall. The range isnít as wide as House of Fraser and the staff are less friendly and there are not a lot of them around sometimes so trying to pay can be tricky. There is also a notoriously nasty sales assistant on the Dior counter down here. I wouldnít say this was Debenhamís fault though as the staff are employed by their company and not by Debenhams. The first impression is that it needs a good clean. The white tiled floor is somewhat grey and dirty. There also seems to be a bit of an atmosphere in here I donít like. It really has a quite negative and depressive atmosphere, hard to explain but Iím not the only one to notice it.
There is a jewellery counter, shoes, handbags and menís wear down here. Up on the second floor is womenís wear. Up on the next floors are furniture and interiors, a wedding registry service, a beauty studio, electricals, a childrenís section, toilets and a cafť and restaurant.
The concessions: Faith shoes, The Shoe Studio (The House of Fraser one is so much better) Warehouse, (the third one in town) Jane Norman, (urgh I hate this Ďwannabe designerí range and the fact that a number of girls at college used to think they were so cool getting a carrier bag from here) Dorothy Perkins and Pineapple. There are also concessions like Viyella and Anne Brookes.
Shop appearance: It is very untidy. Lots of clothes lying on the floor and when itís quiet and they could be tidied up, the staff are just standing around at the till points looking depressed.
The Food: The restaurant never seems to be open. The cafť is ok apart from the fact that it looks out onto a grubby street. They do cheap coffeeís that manager to taste quite nice and a selection of sandwiches and cakes. Last time I went in, the waiter was very pleasant and friendly and gave me a handful of chocolates and carried my tray to a table for me. They always seem to have a copy of the Times to read which is nice when you donít have anything else to do. The sandwiches are quite expensive and the cakes are a bit stodgy but they are perfectly edible.
Staff: Iím not too keen on both the Debenhams staff and the concession staff. Iíve mentioned the Dior assistant who seems more interested in applying more lip liner than helping any customers. She is quite rude whenever my friends or myself have spoken to her. By this I mean she either ignores you or patronises you. The Debenhams staff all wear ill-fitting purple polyester shirts and dark skirts or trousers. There is nothing really wrong with the service but some of the older staff can be somewhat rude. The retail world is not that great and I donít mind bored looking sales assistants who really donít be bothered to be there. None of the staff here apart from that waiter mentioned mentioned above, look like they are happy to be working there which makes me wonder if there is something wrong with the way the company treats their staff.
The concession staff are a different matter. The assistants in the Warehouse and Jane Norman concessions often make you feel like they are doing you a huge favour in ringing your items up at the till and appear more interested in talking to their friends.
HOWEVER, I know first hand that working retail is awful, I don't blame the staff for being how they are. God knows when I was a sales assistant I was just as moody and miserable.
Designers at Debenhams: This is a great range where designers like Antoni and Alison, Jasper Conran and John Rocha design cheaper items especially for Debenhams stores. They are very reasonably priced and very well made and fashionable. This is worth taking a look at.
The Toilets: Clean but cramped and the hand dryers donít often work.
Payment: They take all major credit and debit cards and of course the Debenhams store card. Much to my annoyance they do not take Solo cards.
9.00 or 9.30-6 pm weekdays 9 am-7.30 on Thursdays 9.00-6 Saturdays 10.30-4.30 Sundays
Oh , and by the way we do take solo and visa electron (yes, thats about time!!!) :P
theskysthelimit 06.01.2007 01:56
I work in the bromley store, and I have to admit, some of the things do ring a bell when they are mentioned, such as womenswear looking like a state, but for us thats usually at the end of a long day. Luckily enough for me i work on the home dept and thats usually fine, I do enjoy my work there although they can be a bit pressuring for the hours and stuff... theres a lonnnng story behind that!!!!! However the swindon store does sound dire, and I think that is always down to the management, I would suggest going to another, better store!!!!! Oh, and the layout seems like a generic Debenhams layout, they are all the same - I guess thats so people dont get confused lol - good review! although our debenhams doesnt have waiters!!! that part sounds kinda fancy hahaha
Puma1000 24.01.2005 03:41
Definitely quite average. They will need to do something drastic if they don't want to be pushed out be the competition in the future. Puma1000