Disadvantages No online shopping
|Frequency of visit|
|Value for money|
|Layout & presentation|
|Selection & range|
No I haven’t, got religion, but I did have a near religious experience in Matalan the other day. It’s my favourite shop for buying clothes at the moment.I have heard Matalan called many names, over the years, Tatalan, Tattyland, and several less flattering ones, but personally, I think it’s a great (cheap) shop.Not so tatty actually, as I was in there just yesterday to purchase two jackets, and one pair of trousers of the finest quality, I’ll have you know. Yes cheap it may be, and cheerful yes, but not tatty and not rubbish.
Matalan is like one of those big warehouse type of shops, where they pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap. The store can be divided into four main categories,LADIES
Casual Footwear Sports Underwear and Nightwear ( some formal suits, shirts, not much)
Accessories, soft furnishings, cookware
I have been in several Matalan stores and they all seem to be the same format, large open plan ware house, with masses of stuff on offer, very little money if any is spent on making the stores look pretty, but they are always clean and serviceable in my experience.The one near Hull is just on the edge of town on the Kingswood retail park, not to be confused with the Kingston retail park where it used to be. It is amongst a complex of other shops including a giant Asda, Comet, Boots, Brantano, and several more.
I am more familiar with the menswear department than any of the rest, I don’t recall buying anything from the home store, and I don’t dress up in ladies clothes ( not recently) and don’t have kids to buy for , but I have seen the stuff on offer and it seems reasonable to me.The mens clothes cover the whole range from own brand to branded stuff, like levis, Calvein Kleine and Nike etc. There is Zantos, which I think might be a generic brand for Matalan and is generally pretty cheap, I bought a light weight summer jacket for £10 at the weekend which is shower proof and of good quality. Also trousers by Wolsey, leisure, lightweight, and again of good quality, and another jacket by Armando £20 (£5 off that one yahoo !). all good quality, and cheap for what they are, I’m a bit of a skinflint when it comes to buying clothes, so I like shops like this, as it allows me to indulge my meanness.
There is a sale on at the moment at the Hull store, so I presume there is one in Matalan stores all over the country. The usual summer savings spectacular, 20% off I think. Last year I bought a leather jacket, reduced from £65, down to £25, which was quite a saving, I don’t know why I bought it because I am a vegetarian, and I am not supposed to approve of leather products, so they say, or is that vegans, well to be honest I don’t really care that much.I’m not a crusading veggie and I only object to eating dumb animals not wearing their remains, speaking of which I haven’t worn it yet in nearly a year, so I don’t really know why I got it. Also I haven’t descended to the depths of wearing cardboard shoes yet, so as to avoid, leather shoes, as I know some people do. There’s this vegan shoe leather substitute that looks like crocodile skin, which looks utterly dreadful to me, they only make them to buy on the Internet or by post, I think that is because no one is daft enough to stock cardboard shoes and also you don’t get to see them before you buy them, and then it’s too late. You’ll be lumbered all summer with your cardboard crocs, and be at the mercy of the mercy and ridicule of the fashion police , every time you sneak out to the shops for your veggie burgers, and a roll of Sellotape to repair them with every time it rains.
I think the real reason I didn’t wear it was because the first one I bought looked good in the shop, but when I got it home the sleeves looked a bit too long, way too long in fact, my fingers were barely sticking out of the end, not wanting to spend the rest of the summer looking like a mountain gorilla with the sleeves trailing across the floor I returned it for the next size down. The next one I got looked alright in the shop and when I got it home I left it in the wardrobe and left it there waiting for a suitable occasion to wear it. The occasion never arose as it was really autumn when I bought it and too thin to be of any use on a daily basis, and when I did come to try it on I found I had put on too much weight since I got it and couldn’t get it on. Well I can but it’s not very roomy. It’s a really skinny cut and I’m not super slim any more, ( too many veggie burgers) so there it is , looks great on the hangar, but will I ever get the chance to wear it?It may seem strange to you, but I’ve always had a nightmare, that as soon as I start to wear it I’m going to get set about by hard core, eco-Vegans throwing red paint over me like they do in the t v adverts for fur. May be I should have left the darn thing in the shop in the first place, but at that price I couldn’t resist. I’ll have to skinny down a bit , and then I can strut out into the town, in James Dean mode, and impress all the local totty ( just kidding) , or at least I won’t feel as though I’ve wasted my £25.
I wonder if it was a duff batch of jackets, with small bodies and long arms ? Or is it me that’s the wrong shape ? Mmmnnn....maybe I’ll never know......maybe that’s why they were so cheap.Speaking of returns, I have never had any trouble taking anything back ,like I have just said about the jacket, as long as you keep the receipt and you don’t wear the item, there are usually no quibbles, of course if you have been down the boozer in your new kit, and spilled beer all down the front, gone for a curry afterwards, puked that up all down the front, rolled home through a muddy field on the way home and fallen in some dog sh*t, you might have trouble convincing them that you haven’t worn it. So think on .
When it comes to the tills, gee whiz I’ve seen some queues in my time, but there can be terrific queues at our store, If you’ve ever seen people queueing up to get blessed by the pope you’ll have some idea of what I mean. I was in there on Saturday and there was a full coach load of people standing in the line. I thought oh Jesus I’ll be here all day ( and half the night , which is a shame because they don’t sell sleeping bags)I sallied forth in an act of blind faith hoping the queues may have lost their biblical proportions by the time I had selected my h’orte couture, and want to find , well just a jacket really, for the summer as the one I was currently sporting had been a bit of a permanent fixture for some time, and was a bit too heavy for the loverly weather we have been having up here in Yorkshire. It was also a bit tatty and beginning to smell like a monkeys armpit, even though I’d washed it several times.
I found what I was looking for almost straight away amongst the vast selection of jackets on offer, I was actually shopping by price rather than style, to a large extent, which is possible in Matalan as they have such a range of cheap stuff, and found one for £20 I quite like, a nice blue cotton bomber jacket, tried it on they have full length mirrors dotted all over the store , I thought, ooohh yes suits you sir..! I ‘ll have that one. I thought mmmnnn ? £20 , not bad let’s see if I can do better, my eyes were drawn to a grey showerproof, super lightweight, jacket similar in style, but to my amazement when I looked at the price, it was even CHEAPER only 10 quid, yahoo !, what a piece of luck. The only problem then was which one to get being such an indecisive chap on occasions.I was stood there for some time prevaricating over which one would give me the best sartorial elegance and best for what I wanted it for. Well you know what I did, because I already told you, I bought ‘ em both, and at their prices I could afford to. Blimey 2 jackets, mate what are you some kind of poof or something ? You’ll be telling us you’ve got more than one pair of trousers and a change of under wear next, what are yer, some kind of poof or simmink? Well I suppose I might be considered so, in some parts of Hull on those criteria.
I did also need a pair of trousers as it happens, which I also managed to find, I also need to try those on so rather than risk arrest by trying them on , on the shop floor I availed myself of the changing rooms so thoughtfully provided. It may sound like necessity, but there are many shops who simply make you go home and try them on and let you bring them back if they are not right which I think is a bit poor service. Maybe this phenomena is just relative to Hull, where more’an likely the shops disappeared by the time you get back , along with the rascals who sold you the schmutter.Any how changing rooms are good, and plenty of them,.mens at one side of the store and ladies way over the other end for some reason. I think I’ve done me bit on menswear for the moment and as I don’t know a great deal about ladies fashion, so I won’t dwell there too long, only to say that it is more or less the same deal as for the menswear only for ladies. Anyway the beak also told me that if he found me lingering in ladies wear again in the next six months he’d bang me up.
There is another department in the store I do know something about, and that’s the home ware. I don’t really associate Matalan with interior design immediately but, it’s an area in which they have expanded considerably in the last year or so , in the Hull store at least. I’m not sure how much, I would want to get my home furnishings from Matalan, but there are areas where you can buy stuff, and no one would ever know but you. I am thinking of bedding and duvets for example, very reasonably priced and no one would ever know where you got it from , if you’re a label snob or something. You can also get curtains, rugs, cushion covers, all manner of textile furnishings you would normally get in any other regular department store, like BHS or Debenhams, for example, only cheaper.Most of the home furnishings are of a pretty basic level and quality, utilitarian stuff, for sure, and good for some one just setting up a mall flat, or first home or something ,but I don’t think I would want to buy anyone a gift from there, unless it was for the reasons just mentioned, as the quality is not breath taking and you will not find any thing “special” in there. All good utilitarian stuff, and at the right price, but that is about all that it has in it’s favour, it’s not going to win any design awards or anything. It’s the sort of stuff they use to fill up the rooms on changing rooms, when they’ve run out of money. I don’t think Laurence Llewellyn Bowen would take any home to furnish his own boudoir.
There is also a good range of shoes to choose from. They seem to have everything from casual shoes and trainers to formal shiney shoes for more formal occasions. Also a wide range of womens shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever bought any from there, but I have tried some on and they seem pretty reasonable, I think I would buy some it I was pressed. I saw Nike branded shirts and stuff, but I don’t recall seeing any trainers, which would be unusual, may be I just overlooked them. Although something like that would tend to sell out quickly anyway.Meanwhile back at the checkouts, the queue seems to have melted away somewhere. There, was no body there or so I thought by the time I’d finished picking over the home ware department, it’s a miracle ! I stood at the till for a minute giving thanks, to the almighty, for my deliverance from the mighty satanic shopping hoards, only to glance over my shoulder, in a moment of idleness, whilst the girl at the till was fiddling with my trousers ( the ones I had just bought, not the ones I was wearing), and ................Aaaieeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!.....................they’d all appeared again, ‘ undreds of ‘em.from no where, the shopper hoards from hell, as if they’d magically appeared from another plane of existence. I was spooked by this experience I have to say, it was like a biblical parting of the waves, sort of Moses like, to let me through , and as soon as I was at the till they all appeared behind me again...whhhhoooaaaaaa.....! I can only think my spiritual personal shopper guide had been watching over me, that day, exacting some unearthly power over my shopping antics.
There’s the kids section as well which is good if you, have little horrors to buy for and don’t want to waste too much, on clothing that will just get destroyed after 5 minutes, I would say that Matalan was the ideal place to go. I don’t see the point of spending a great deal on kids clothes either because they ware for ever growing out of them or spoiling them. And after all if they’re not destroying their clothes they can’t be having fun , so there is no point in fighting it. Just buy the cheapest, and then go buy some more.The Matalan web site seem s have only a limited range of their actual collection for you to browse online. I know for a fact I have seen mens suits in our store which are not even mentioned on the web site. So I can only suppose that it is the same for the ladies and kids stuff as well. There is no facility to buy online which I find unusual, and a bit of a wasted opportunity on their part and also, a bit awkward if you can’t get to one of their stores. There is a store locator, on the web site which will help you find your local store by postcode.
If you like the Matalan experience and you want to buy into it , I can tell you that their share prices currently stand at £1.96 GBP, if you want to know more follow the link to the investor centre at the Matalan homepage.Mataln take all major credit and debit cards, cheques, and of course cash. ( you may still have a problem with Visa electron, as many stores including Matalan are iffy about taking it.
Just one final thought if you do get to the tills, aided by holy guidance or otherwise and discover , after all that tussle and bustle with the rest of the mob, and you just want to go home before you drop somebody, that you haven’t got your membership card, like I did, panic not , for they will issue you with a temporary card at the till, which will last for just one day, like al the best things in life, and you will have your salvation, and your trousers.
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