Assessing the Russell & Bromley brand

Each week in association with retail and marketing consultancy Pragma, looks at a high-profile UK brand, assessing its performance against a range of criteria and offering suggestions to improve its overall score. Marks for each section are given out of five stars, while the overall rating is given at the end of the review.

Russell & Bromley***


Russell and Bromley is a stalwart high street brand. It started life as a shoemaker’s in 1820 and has expanded to a chain comprising 43 outlets, selling own brand products alongside other major shoe brands. The brand positioning changed in the 1990s, elevating it to a more upmarket status. The target market is mature and looking for quality and elegance. The offer also extends into children’s shoes meaning that the brand caters for the whole family.

The stores vary in their design from the newest in Richmond – light, open and logical – to the older in Kingston – carpeted, dark and average (a relic of the company’s old image). These variations in the store environment result in a lack of clarity amongst customers as to the price positioning of the offer. An average shoe price of over £100 seems expected in Richmond, whilst in Kingston this can come as a surprise.

The offer combines core Russell and Bromley own brand products with major fashion brand names including Barker and Church’s for men and Beverly Feldman for women. This is combined with the presence of more mainstream brands like Birkenstock and DKNY. Although some of the more strongly designed pieces are appealing to the fashion conscious, the majority of products are conservatively designed for the target market.

Value Positioning***
The offer is classic quality within the high street, and shoes are regarded more as an investment rather than a transient fashion statement. Current price positioning places Russell and Bromley amongst the likes of LK Bennett, Hobbs, Kurt Geiger and independent retailers. The men’s and women’s offer has strong competition with premium and luxury clothing retailers now offering shoe collections.


Ensure the store environment matches the price positioning of the offer.

Highlight the quality – many high street shoppers are unsure of how to spot a quality shoe! Explain to them the value of the pieces.

Create some key hotspots within the store to add some excitement to the offer.

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