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Ipswich’s Coes named as one of UK’s 100 most inspiring independent stores

PUBLISHED: 19:01 07 October 2020

Ipswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured are William and Fiona Coe with Matthew Rawlings  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Ipswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured are William and Fiona Coe with Matthew Rawlings Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

Coes, the family-owned Ipswich department store, has been named as one of the top 100 inspiring independents in the UK.

Ipswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured is Rachel Mcrobbie  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDIpswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured is Rachel Mcrobbie Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Coes, whose flagship store is in Norwich Road, was handed the honour by Drapers – a 130-year-old trade magazine for fashion retailers.

The magazine said the accolade “shined a spotlight on the amazing resilience of this sector”.

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Fiona Coe, head of marketing at Coes, said: “It’s been such a tough year in retail, so it’s really nice to receive the recognition.

Ipswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDIpswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“We worked really hard to keep our business going during lockdown. The support of local people shopping online gave us an avenue to generate some revenue.

“And now with people coming back into the store – it’s obviously not back to where it was – but to begin to return when they could still shop online is really heartfelt.

“We really appreciate that people see us as somewhere they feel safe and comfortable, and the award is recognition of that too.

“It’s a really good feeling that the hard work is paying off.”

Ipswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured is Fiona Coe  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDIpswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured is Fiona Coe Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

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Mrs Coe said that as a business which has traded for 90 years, Coes has had to change over time to stay relevant - and is continuing to evolve.

“We’ve always traded with our priority being on the bricks and mortar stores,” she said. “But our focus definitely switched during lockdown.

“We wouldn’t used to worry about getting sports products online because we’ve got experts in store.

Ipswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured is Anne Lockwood  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDIpswich department store Coes has been named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Pictured is Anne Lockwood Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“It was a case of let’s get every single pair of trainers that we have in the shop online for people to buy.

“But people could still phone up our experts and ask for advice.

“We took the personal service element and added it to the online experience.”

MORE: Coes prepares to welcome shoppers back

In the run-up to Christmas, Coes is continuing to evolve with customers’ safety in mind.

Instead of offers running for only a few days, they will run for longer this year - to keep the number of people in the store at any one time down.

Mrs Coe said the store will run virtual one-to-one shopping experiences over FaceTime or Zoom and will even do private shopping after hours for customers who may be shielding.


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