Ipswich’s Coes named as one of UK’s 100 most inspiring independent stores
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Coes, the family-owned Ipswich department store, has been named as one of the top 100 inspiring independents in the UK.
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”.
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.
“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.
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“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.
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“It’s a really good feeling that the hard work is paying off.”
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.
“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.”
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.