The buzz you usually get on greeting the ground floor of premium department retailers was missing and I couldn't help but feel disappointed at the overall experience I had. Lacklustre seemed to be the customer service approach du jour I'm afraid and although I'm sure I too would feel the pressure with uncertain job prospects the customer certainly shouldn't be aware of it.
In the Beauty section I thought there may have been a Charlotte Tilbury offer, as her new Hollywood Flawless Filter has been lauded of late and its on my wish list. No such luck; John Lewis must have beat HOF to it!
It was no better on the ladies wear floor; sales associates clustered together, discussing fitting room cover so breaks could be allocated while daunted customers floated by. I even had to ask to pay as no tills were seemingly being manned and I was directed to the lingerie department.
I stopped at Maison de Nimes, HoF own brand inspired by Californian coastal living, launched in 2016. I bought this on trend straw bag, left, £40, as the handle was long enough to go over my shoulder, and the lining had pockets.
However it's not available online which is surprising as it seems everything else is! Again I went to the shoe department to purchase it as no sales associate or till was manned in the vicinity. Also whilst markdowns were aplenty across all departments this was still full price.
With 460 options available in that brand alone I can hazard a guess that one of the problems HoF face is the overwhelming stock offer.
Just when Zara are putting short exclusive runs in store to create customer excitement HoF are sat on piles of slow moving stock.
If you look online HoF have no fewer than 4,307 dresses to choose from.....,with 100s of brands. It's too much choice with no curation and far too much to peruse in one sitting; customers want answers to their styling quests not more options!
Layout was traditional and samey and footfall seemed accidental with no known destination. The cafe looked like a second rate wedding venue, with a Cinderella type coach plonked in the middle, more Katie Price and Peter Andre nuptials than Fortnum and Mason; too try hard.... whatever happened to less is more?
With the highlight being the two HoF own line labels I've picked my top three items from the 'Linea' and "Maison De Nimes' ranges, below.
I hope HoF can sort out the issues they face and that another well established British retailer isn't going to be forced into administration. That said the future doesn't look too rosy and if my recent visit is anything to go by I won't be surprised if that will be the case.
Click on the links to shop, let me know what you love about HoF, and thanks for stopping by.