Advantages Huge range, Stylish, Cheap
Disadvantages Gets very very busy
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|Value for money|
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|Selection & range|
Matalan is a general store selling high quality, stylish fashions and home ware at absolute bargain prices. Founded in 1985, Matalan now has 135 stores throughout Britain and aims to have 200 by the year 2005. So how do they manage to be so cheap?Well, basically because they have enormous outlets on out-of-town retail parks rather than in high-rent shopping centres in city centres. Also, they buy in incredible bulk direct from the manufacturers. They also operate as a shopping ‘club’ whereby you have to be a member (joining fee one pound) in order to shop there.
Unlike other ‘clubs’ claiming to offer massive discounts (i.e. Macro), Matalan really do pass the savings onto the consumer.The fashions at Matalan cover women’s, men’s, girls and boys. I’ve only shopped in the women’s section, but have picked up some great stuff at great prices.
Like many shops catering for the whole age/style range, you need to have a good look around for the stuff you want, but there is plenty to choose from. Yesterday I got 2 jumpers, one for £14 and one for £16 which were absolutely comparable in quality and general style to two I recently got from Next for £35 and £40. I also got a Playtex bra for £12 which is in the current Grattan catalogue at almost 20 quid.They sell everything from outerwear to underwear to sportswear, and have a huge stock of Falmer jeans and other Falmer clothes. The sportswear in particular is exceptional value and the quality matches the big brand names no problem.
As I said, though, because they cater for everyone you might be put off on first impressions as for some reason they tend to put the more frumpy stuff at the store entrance.On to the home wares, my favourite section. I’m currently stocking up ready for a move to a new house (with absolutely nothing to take with me) and have been buying at Matalan like crazy. It’s easily as stylish as Ikea and Habitat and the prices are absolute rock bottom.
The home wares section has masses of stuff for the kitchen, plus crockery, bed linen, cushions, ornaments and little knick-knacks like candles and dried grasses. At the moment they also have a massive stock of all things Christmassy, from cards to decorations to festive tableware.I bought some superb colourful dinner plates for £1 each, some gorgeous matt black bowls for £2 each, a stainless steel mug and saucer for a fiver and a really slick 16 piece cutlery set for £12. I would have bought more but couldn’t carry it!
Matalan gets very, very busy, and at first the huge queue for the checkout looks daunting. However, as they have about 20 tills in operation (all in operation on my 2 visits), you get to be served in no time. The checkout staff are very friendly and helpful and they don’t stint on the carrier bags or the wrapping tissue either.I haven’t had the need to take anything back, but have heard from friends that it is easy to get a no-quibble refund or exchange.
Matalan is a brilliant store for all the family and I’d heartily recommend a visit.To see their current range (but not to buy) and to search for your nearest store, check out their web site at www.matalan.co.uk
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