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Cheaper outdoor wear
Member Name: ariom
Advantages: cheaper, good accessory ranges, good if you know what you want
Disadvantages: poor women's ranges, confusing layout, staff who don't use products
I have visited several Millets stores and this review will cover general features and notable specifics of these which include Buxton, Leek, Manchester Arndale and Preston. Millets is a large chain of outdoor wear and equipment shops with one in most towns. They are perceived to cater for the "budget" end of the market and not as high tech as say "Cotswold Outdoor".
Millets stocks both branded products such as Berghaus and North Face as well as their own brand Peter Storm. Apart from promotions and sales (which are seasonal - you will not always find sales on in Millets), the branded goods sell at approximately RRP. Most of the stores stock two or three lines, alongside the Peter Storm of branded products. The Peter Storm range is cheaper than the branded products, but not significantly so, though the quality is also only slightly less than the branded lines. The outdoor clothing lines include waterproof jackets, walking trousers, active tops and fleeces, socks and waterproof trousers. The ladies range is smaller and contains less branded and high quality products. This annoys me slightly as it seems to be based on a presumption that women are less hardy than men. For example, we were shopping in the Leek store for waterproof trousers. I wanted a tough air for walking, my husband wanted a lightweight pair he could keep in his backpack when commuting and were relatively inexpensive incase he forgot them on the train. The only ladies waterproofs they had were lightweight £25 ones which are a bit flimsy and I won't trust up on Kinder in bad weather and the only mens ones were heavyweight £40 ones which were far tougher.
They stock a range of outdoor and camping accessories. Much of this is on brand and cheaper than branded or elsewhere available. This includes a useful range of free energy equipment, providing you with light or phone charge if you wind or pull a string frequently enough. These went down well as Christmas presents this year.
Millets also stocks a range of tents and boots, though I have never purchased either from them.
Millets stores are often small and cramped. There is normally an assembled tent displayed prominently in such a position you have to work your way around it. Clothing is displayed on slatwall with island displays infront. The wall displays often have labels on for the category, but this doesn't make navigation easier as the ranges are mixed up - especially womens and children's in smaller stores. The accessories are often distributed randomly on island displays - by brand rather than category. This means if you've gone in for a specific accessory, it may be rather hard to find. Boots and footwear are always put together with a bench to sit to try footwear on and socks are always near footwear, whichever gender. Not all of the smaller stores have changing facilities for clothing.
The staff are friendly and helpful and will always help you find something, but do not approach you to ask if you need help. Often the staff seem to be chatting to each other behind the counter rather than focusing on customers. When asking for advice, I have found that staff do not appear to have personal experience of the products.
Summary: cheaper outdoor wear and equipment, but not necessarily better.
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