Matalan has closed down its branches in Cowley and Banbury, but a store in the neighbouring town of Swindon has provoked anger among shoppers.
One shopper, Louise Hill, even dropped her basket and walked out in disgust after finding out the changing rooms had been removed on-site.
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She said: “It is arrogant of Matalan to expect customers to buy items, then make an expensive journey home and come all the way back – which for me, is a 10-mile round trip – for a refund if the clothes don’t fit.
“It’s a difficult economic time for many with fuel prices going up. Customers don’t need this extra expense and hassle.”
Louise Hill outside Matalan (Image: Newsquest)
What has Matalan said?
It is understood that the facilities vary from store-to-store and this is not believed to be a blanket decision across the country.
A spokeswoman for Matalan told the Oxford Mail: “We have taken the decision to close the fitting room at this store.
“However, our returns policy allows customers time to try items on at home.”
The Matalan store is part of a national chain of discount retail spaces which offer classic and modern clothing and accessories for all ages, along with homewares.
Matalan in Oxford
The clothing store in Cowley reopened during the Covid lockdown as it was selling homeware items.
In an email to shoppers at the time, Matalan bosses said they had been working ‘tirelessly’ to make it safe to shop again.
However, it has since closed down and is no longer listed on the company’s website for stores across the country.
Lenders for Matalan agreed to take ownership of the fashion chain in a deal which will end founder John Hargreaves’ control of the retailer earlier this year.
Mr Hargreaves, who founded the company in 1985, attempted to put a bid together with Elliot Advisers to regain control.
The lenders said they have cut the group’s debt by £257 million to £336 million and agreed up to £100 million in new growth funding as part of the deal.
What you say about the changing rooms saga
After finding out that Matalan had been axing changing rooms from at least one of its stores, fellow customers joined Louise Hill in expressing their outrage over the decision.
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In response to the news, one shopper Jill Hinds simply said: “Is this for real?”
One customer, who did not wish to be named, said: “It is such a short-sighted view when retailers do this.”
But another Matalan customer Theresa Cox believes there was logic behind the move.
She said: “They are closing them to try and stop theft as some people take clothes into the changing room, take their old clothes off and put new ones on – then walk out without paying.
“Also, if you dont have a receipt or have run over the 14 days return or exchange policy you get nothing – not even a refund card.”