AIBU to think shops should put the children's/babies' section on the ground floor?

(76 Posts)
GingerPCatt Tue 12-Feb-13 15:49:31

Just home from shopping in town and every shop except in the mall and specialist baby shops had the children's stuff up a level or two. Big stores like boots and M&S. You would think sections that people with pushchairs would be more accessible. I was browsing for clothes for DS, but after a couple of shops I couldn't be bothered to look for the lift. And if there's no lift, forget it! I'm not carrying DS and the pushchair upstairs.

nickelbabe Tue 12-Feb-13 15:50:56


my entire shop is on the ground floor though wink
(and it's entirely children's so there you go grin)

purrpurr Tue 12-Feb-13 15:52:07

YANBU. And on a side note, I really detest how some supermarkets put things like Gaviscon on the bottom shelf. I'm 6 months pregnant. Getting down there is undignified for me and anyone who is unfortunate enough to be passing. If I'm not groaning and wheezing, I'm trying to breathe round my bump, or worrying that my old faithful expanda-pants are going to emit a dreadful ripping sound...

Omnishambolic Tue 12-Feb-13 15:53:10

YABU (although I get how frustrating it is!). Shops run a business, not a service to the public. They have presumably decided that the best use of their retail space to maximise profit puts other stuff which appeals to more people in the key downstairs space. (To use M&S as an example - people who buy childrens clothes are likely to also wear clothes themselves, and eat food. Not everyone who wears clothes and eats food has children.)

MediumOrchid Tue 12-Feb-13 15:54:49

I completely agree! And while they're at it, they should stop putting 'petite' clothes on high racks so us short people can't reach them!

funkybuddah Tue 12-Feb-13 15:55:03

But then you wouldnt walk past all the other ranges and offers.

Shops are there to sell you as much as possible, wether you need it or not.
To not do this would be nice for the customer yes but they would lose money, busines not charity.

Although I do find it funny that our boots while having baby clothes/nappies etc downstairs larger stuff for bedroom/prams playmats etc upstairs whne they dont have a lift

INeedThatForkOff Tue 12-Feb-13 15:57:38

I suppose places like Boots know that parents don't need to be attracted in ad they're pretty much a captive audience (the pharmacy is also upstairs in our branch). M&S have switched homeware and childrenswear, presumably because they knew the latter would still get the traffic upstairs.
Luxury goods retailers should be aware though - put books or toys upstairs and I'm shopping online.

hazleweatherfield Tue 12-Feb-13 15:58:09

Our local mothercare is spread across two floors and doesn't actually have a lift at all.

That's a specialised baby shop. With no lift.

marjproops Tue 12-Feb-13 16:14:21

O a bugbear of mine. I dont care what the shops are selling, if theres a baby section it should be on the ground floor.

it would stop people putting buggies on escalators too, (understandable if lifts are miles away or shop has no lift but still.....) which you're not supposed to, its dangerous.

there was a pile up in a shop once where a buggy got stuck at the top of the escalator and baby, parent, and a line of people behind all fell forward on top of each other. sounds like a charly chaplin film but it wasnt and wasnt funny.

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 12-Feb-13 16:22:32

I can understand your point if there are no lifts but Boots the 'chemist' sells baby clothes/toys are not going to be it's biggest department and M+S biggest seller is still women's clothes. I think most people manage fine if there's a lift unless, as you say, the person can't be bothered.

KellyElly Tue 12-Feb-13 16:27:12

I've always thought this well actually I haven't but when I was dragging a buggy around I did grin

Lafaminute Tue 12-Feb-13 16:31:58

I don't do stairs in a shop so they lose that business. I usually have a buggy with me but I've gotten in the habit of dismissing shops that have stairs even when I don't have the buggy along.

marjproops Tue 12-Feb-13 16:36:29

Yes but M&S and the like could display their womens clothes/best sellers in the windows and still have the baby stuff on ground floor.

It used to annoy me that the baby section in my old Boot's store was upstairs. But then...I realised, by having it upstairs it's actually a lot quieter, so you can just trundle around without feeling like you're getting in anyone's way.

Bearbehind Tue 12-Feb-13 16:40:20

I was going to say just what omnishambolic said so I won't now, cos she has already! smile

EarnestDullard Tue 12-Feb-13 16:41:59

I see your point, but children's/baby sections are never going to be the biggest seller, so it doesn't make sense from a retail point of view to have them occupying the most accessible part of the store. Also, the majority of shoppers would then have to get through the children's/baby section, past all the prams and pushchairs, to get to the other sections.

I fully agree that there should always be a lift in those situations though.

Whose bright idea was it to have escalators for getting upstairs and just plain stairs for getting back down?
As for baby clothes upstairs, most stored put the mens clothes nearest the door because they know that men won't bother going in if they have to go upstairs. I think they should all have travelators going up and down and then there would be no problem at all.

JenaiMorris Tue 12-Feb-13 17:09:13

YABU. They usually have lifts so I really don't see the issue. Also, it's preferable to have children's things away from the main doors.

Oh and what Earnest said.

Plus of course wheelchair users without small children would be inconvenienced if they had to go upstairs for things they wanted.

Sirzy Tue 12-Feb-13 17:14:02

If there is a lift then what's the problem? If their isn't a lift it's more of an issue but then whatever is upstairs will always been an issue for anyone with mobility issues.

ZenNudist Tue 12-Feb-13 17:19:15

I don't like my new asda layout with nappies upstairs. I do my main shop then waste more time upstairs getting nappies and get suckered in to browsing clothes or shampoo. I know it works for them but side effect has been to deter me from shopping there. In not saving money getting my nappies there so feel there is no point going.

Oodsigma Tue 12-Feb-13 17:19:24

And maternity stuff upstairs when the lift never works new look I'm looking at you

Startail Tue 12-Feb-13 17:20:45

Nearest large Boots was ridiculous
The ground floor is quite big enough to have baby stuff.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 12-Feb-13 17:23:31


Womens clothes are usually the most accessible. This is the way it should be so I don't have to go out of my way, up and down escalators grin

Beehatch Tue 12-Feb-13 17:30:13

I was informed in Clarkes that the reason they site the kids section on another floor if possible is to stop kids running out the door whilst their parents are distracted. So maybe other stores follow this line of reasoning.

Still annoys me though, especially when there is no lift.

roundtoit Tue 12-Feb-13 17:31:00

years ago the mens dept was always the 1st dept in the store as their reasoning was men do not like shopping so therefore would not go looking for the department.

nailak Tue 12-Feb-13 17:40:13

my nearest m and s has kids, cafe and groceries on the ground floor, womens and men on the second, lingerie and accessories on the third, if they can do it i am sure others can too

GrandPoohBah Tue 12-Feb-13 23:17:46

You say that they're there to run a business, not provide a service to the public. But the point of the business, by and large, is to make money.

If I can't get to the clothes, or it's a massive hassle (pram in the lift at the other side of the shop, for example), I won't be making the effort. I'll just shop elsewhere. Which means I won't be putting my money into their pocket. Poor business plan.


Fakebook Tue 12-Feb-13 23:25:53

Yanbu! This really pisses me off. The Clarks shop in our town has children's shoes upstairs and there isn't even a lift and there never will be because it's a listed building. The only shops that have children's clothing on the ground floor in our town are Next and Monsoon.

I always thought, since pretty much all shops did it, that there must be a particular reason for it; a bit like why all shop/cinema doors open outwards (to prevent crushing in an evacuation). I had presumed it was for the reason Beehatch was given.

squeakytoy Tue 12-Feb-13 23:26:38

But the majority of people going into a shop are not likely to be pushing a pram unless it is a specialised shop for parents. Which Boots is not and nor is M & S.

Both are shops which will get busiest when shoppers are on their lunch breaks from work during the week, and want to quickly get in and out of the shop having found the goods they want.

MyDarlingClementine Tue 12-Feb-13 23:27:42


Its ridiculous as well as no adequate loo facilities for people with babies and push chairs. Many a time I have simply had to go to the loo with the door wedged open. Places like M&S should have good facilites all round for people with children.

JenaiMorris Tue 12-Feb-13 23:30:18

But most people don't have prams, Pooh!

MyDarlingClementine Tue 12-Feb-13 23:34:47

All people who complain about things like this here I wonder if they complain to the company who can actually do smething about it in RL.

We are in a credit crunch, big business ARE folding, companies are worried about thier performance, I have noticed alot more places trying to encourage people to give feedback on thier services.

If enough people complain about he same problem, they should look at it.

Squeaky - but where is the money? With the parent browsing in m&s or boots, or the person dashing in on lunch break for a sarnie? I know which demographic I would be pandering too.

JenaiMorris Tue 12-Feb-13 23:34:56

And ditto to Clementine grin

The pramless, be they disabled, a bit infirm, on a lunch break dash or just plain lazy outnumber those prampushers hugely.

How many hours, as a proportion of your entire shopping life, do you think you'll spend with a buggy?

JenaiMorris Tue 12-Feb-13 23:37:03

Or rather, how many £s as a proportion of your lifetime spend do you think you'll spend pushing a pram?

GrandPoohBah Tue 12-Feb-13 23:37:08

That's fair. But presumably these shops have children's sections on the basis that they're hoping to make money out of them? So siting them so that people with children - their target audience for that section - can't access them seems a little nonsensical.

I'm not saying that they should be the only thing on the ground floor and I agree that the sort of thing that lunchtime shoppers are after (food hall at M&S for example) should be very easily accessible, but it just doesn't make sense from a business point of view. If your target audience can't access your goods then it's wasted sq footage.

JenaiMorris Tue 12-Feb-13 23:43:35

But you can access the goods, assuming there's a lift or a place to leave your wheels.

Another perspective; women looking to buy toddler or baby clothes vs the number of women looking to buy women's clothes. And the £s they're going to spend.

nokidshere Tue 12-Feb-13 23:49:56

I was told by a manager in such a shop that the childrens sections were upstairs in order to prevent children leaving the store easily if their parent was shopping and distracted. grin

nancy75 Wed 13-Feb-13 00:12:08

In a large retailer every inch of floor space is analyzed, everything has to justify it's place on the shop floor. M&s make far more money from women's wear which is why it is in their prime selling area, kids wear doesn't come close in terms of units sold or turnover. Even if kids stuff was moved downstairs to the front of the store it could never compete with women's wear. The same goes for pretty much every retailer, Clarksville for example don't want to be seen as a kids shoe shop because their kids only out sell their women's for 2 or 3 weeks a year.

StuntGirl Wed 13-Feb-13 00:19:53

Possibly because the world doesn't revolve around parents/children? Prime space goes to the best selling departments/lines, or whoever paid the most to have their product there. Boots/M&S /etc don't make their bread and butter from kids clothes.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 13-Feb-13 06:56:14

What nancy says - there is a massive amount of analysis done on footfall, spend, ambience etc and different store layouts are tried, analysed and tweaked to maximise revenue.

meditrina Wed 13-Feb-13 07:22:50

They put the most profitable items in the most prominent and easiest access areas.

Shops need to maximise profit; look at the numbers that are failing.

I doubt there are any which can afford the risks of a costly gesture to a niche subset of shoppers.

fairylightsinthesnow Wed 13-Feb-13 07:25:05

even where they have a lift, its usually tiny and hopeless on a busy saturday, the local boots (with kids stuff upstairs) loses LOADS of business because people see the queue to use the lift and go elsewhere. Clarks have their kids section up a few steps at the back (though they do offer to help carry the pushchair up)

mirai Wed 13-Feb-13 07:38:44

My mum says it has been going on for decades for the simple reason that the shops know men can't be bothered to walk around much and going upstairs is seen as a huge hassle, but they know women will do it.

So, men's stuff on the ground floor and all our stuff everywhere else!

Our Clarks does annoy me. Children's shoes upstairs, no lift and nowhere to park pushchairs. So I don't go there. And as I'll have had a child in a pushchair for 6 years by the time I'm finished that's a lot of shoes to miss out on.

Don't mind about any of the others though, as long as there is a lift.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 13-Feb-13 08:01:02

YABU. People buying baby things in boots or M&S usually go into them with intention.

They put things at the front that people often buy just because they've seen them. The market for non baby related things is bigger, surprisingly enough!

In the two M&S stores near me, all the men's stuff, and the children's, is on the top floor.

wigglesrock Wed 13-Feb-13 08:10:38

I always thought there had to be a lift in stores over a certain square footage for wheelchair users? I have had several rows in Next and strangely enough HMM regarding their customer lifts bring full of stock.

wigglesrock Wed 13-Feb-13 08:11:28


LIZS Wed 13-Feb-13 08:19:43

Used to work for a large retailer. It is all about destination departments and footfall and increasing profit per square foot in those departments you may pass through. You'll often find kidswear next to restaurant, toilets, toys etc on an upper floor. Main exception would be where there was limited or no lift access.

Trills Wed 13-Feb-13 08:26:25

You probably need baby stuff or children's clothes (they grow out and wear out).

The people shopping for adult clothes want them, or quite fancy something, but they don't need it.

If you make things slightly more hassle for someone who needs something they will buy it anyway. If you make things slightly more hassle for someone who doesn't need anything, they will wander off somewhere else.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 13-Feb-13 09:07:31

You only have to count the number of people on the ground floor and then on the first floor to know why the departments are that way round. Last Saturday I went into Boots on ground floor (make and pharmacy around 40 ) on top floor baby stuff, beach stuff and opticians 3 customers. M&S ground floor food and womens wear around 100 people and first floor mens and childrens 5. In this day and age make it eaisest for the biggest number of customers.

elliejjtiny Wed 13-Feb-13 10:36:51

YANBU. The lift in my local boots is so tiny it can only accomodate 1 wheelchair/buggy. This means I can't go to the baby department if I'm on my own with all 3 children unless I send DS1 (aged 6) up first with either DS2 in his wheelchair or DS3 in his buggy. I don't do this because I don't trust DS1 not to wander off if he gets bored waiting for me and if the lift breaks down I'd rather we were all together. Clarks has their childrens department in the basement with no lift and another shop has a lovely restaurant on the top floor with no lift apart from a stair lift.

landofsoapandglory Wed 13-Feb-13 10:49:17

YABU. I like shops as they are, thanks. I am disabled, if I go into Boots I don't want to go upstairs for my painkillers or toiletries so the Baby stuff can be down stairs. I don't want to mess about with lifts in M&S. There are lots of shops where I do have to go upstairs, and it is a PITA, I grant you that, but please bear in mind, having a child in a pushchair is temporary, having a disability is permanent!

sashh Wed 13-Feb-13 11:25:12

I think the fact it would be easy to just put a few things in a buggy and walk out influences where baby stuff is too.

Meglet Wed 13-Feb-13 11:29:46

yanbu. Our local H&M, M&S and Zara had the kids clothes on a different floor. So they never got my money. I couldn't be bothered fannying about with a lift just to see what was in stock <<very impatient>>.

GladbagsGold Wed 13-Feb-13 11:38:00

I used to boycott shops with children's things upstairs and no lift. Or ask the staff to bring me things down, if I was after something specific (e.g. boys coat age 2). 9 times out of 10 it then wasn't what I wanted and I didn't buy it.

JulesJules Wed 13-Feb-13 11:45:12

I used to work in a bookshop. Our childrens books section was in the basement because the ground floor had two main doors opening onto a busy street.

TheCraicDealer Wed 13-Feb-13 12:12:36

If you make things slightly more hassle for someone who needs something they will buy it anyway. If you make things slightly more hassle for someone who doesn't need anything, they will wander off somewhere else.

Exactly. The reason why womenswear is often on the bottom floor is because we're bloody fickle. Most shops need to "grab" us within a short space of time of walking into the store, unless a lot of women will just walk straight back out again without bothering to browse. How many of us buy an item because we just saw it and fancied it?

On the other hand, men and parents will often realise they need a specific item and go to a specific store to look for or buy it, they won't bother to look around much because they simply can't be bothered. They're a much more loyal customer base and make less impulsive purchases.

And as well, what about the elderly or people with mobility issues who want to shop as much as a person with a pram? Are they supposed to go upstairs because parents can't be bothered?

As Omni, Nancy and Doctrine & others said, the Baby/child departments are nowhere near as productive as the departments already on the ground floor for stores like Boots. The parent demographic is important to these stores, but is not the most valuable, and therefore it is a simple calculation of sales/profit per sq metre.

Very inconvenient for pushchairs and lots of kids, but these companies are there to make as much money as possible.

Whydobabiescry Wed 13-Feb-13 12:25:28

YANBU all children's departments should be accessible to the people who use them ie parents with prams and small children.

My pet hate is the Mothercare store in Cwmbran Wales, it's a two storey shop with lots of essential things like prams, cots, bedding etc on the 1st floor - but no sodding lift ffs! This is a Mothercare shop aimed at new parents ie those with prams and yes that's right no lift just about 40 steps! When I queried how I was supposed to get upstairs with dd 2 months old at the time, I was told to either leave her and pram downstairs or someone could bring down whatever I wanted to look at. You couldn't make it up. I did think that I'd ask to see the fitted sheets, crib blankets, and 4 different prams and a cot just to see what they'd do but tbh I just couldn't be bothered. Needless to say I've never been back and they wonder why Mothercare is doing so badly at the moment. biscuit

Whydobabiescry Wed 13-Feb-13 12:29:33

Btw I actually don't mind having to go upstairs but I object very strongly when there is no lift.

peeriebear Wed 13-Feb-13 12:37:45

We used to have a really strange shop here in town (will be obvious to anyone who went in it!) It was a toy shop and a fishing shop combined.
On the ground floor, older children's toys, and fishing supplies. The whole shop REEKED of boilies and maggot substrate.
Upstairs, baby toys/equipment/supplies. No lift.
WHY WHY WHY didn't they put the revolting fishing supplies upstairs where the presumably mostly able bodied fisherpeople could examine their boilies in peace, and put the baby equipment downstairs so people with babies could get to it?!

FeistyLass Wed 13-Feb-13 12:38:28

Beehatch the lady in Clarkes told me that too - about the upper floor being used to stop children running on to the street. I was a bit hmm
It sounded like faulty reasoning especially when they don't have a lift and you do most of your shopping on ground level with children (without them running out on to the street).

So by that token our clarks, who have men/women downstairs and children upstairs should have women/children downstairs? If I'm buying school shoes and trainers for dd1 and shoes for dd2 then for my £100 I want to be able to get in a lift or leave my pushchair somewhere. Otherwise Start Rite get the money.

nailak Wed 13-Feb-13 14:33:47

nancy but kids stuff in my local m and s is downstairs, behind the cafe. presumably people who come in to have a drink are normally sahms?

Fillyjonk75 Wed 13-Feb-13 14:39:56

Shops run a business, not a service to the public

It's this attitude which means that many shops are closing. They would be a lot more successful if they put the customer first.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 13-Feb-13 14:43:04

Nailak, that might well be due to eg plumbing/venting layout at your M&S which meant the cafe had to be sited where it is and the rest of the shop was planned around it.

flowery Wed 13-Feb-13 14:54:35


They are a business and it's a commercial decision. They put stuff at the front/ground floor that might entice in passers by. Stuff that isn't as profitable/people will specifically come in for goes in less accessible areas.

Long as there's a lift there's no issue.

However our local Monsoon has baby clothes upstairs with no lift and not even an escalator. Their answer to my query was to say I could leave the pram at the bottom of the stairs, take baby DS1 out, carry him up the spiral stairs and do my shopping. hmm Er, no thanks.

choceyes Wed 13-Feb-13 15:05:49

I actually prefer the childrens area to be upstairs. I wouldn't be able to browse around or even pick up stuff that I need when I constantly have to keep an eye on my DCs if they running around. I have 2 bolters and would run out on to the street if I turn my back for 2 secs.
If there's no lift (and there always is IME) I just leave the buggy downstairs and drap the DCs upstairs.

Or just go shopping in my lunch hour from work. I don't actually shop with the DCs anymore. Toooo stressful!

There are only two shops in my local town that sell baby clothes: M&S and Matalan. M&S used to sell loads - then they rejigged the store so you can't get a pram into the children's department (too narrow). Matalan kept wide aisles, and now get so much more business they can justify expanding their children's section.

And consequently those people who like a one-stop shop get our pants from Matalan instead of M&S now.

Kafri Wed 13-Feb-13 15:36:26

I don't mind where the children's area is in the store but I do have a problem with one of my local shops - the kids section is right at the back - its only one level. But, you cannot get a pram past all of the clothes stands to get to the kids clothes. Slightly useless to me to be honest as the only time I am on town is when DS is with me, unless DH has a weeks holiday in which case I might get a couple of hours off duty.

Luckily, that particular store has a limited supply of kids clothes so only go in there when i've tried everywhere else and usually have no luck there either

Oh and...

does anyone have any idea where I can get a nice coat in 3 - 6 months. Have tried M&S, Next, Primark, Peacocks, Tesco, Asda etc. DS will be in 3-6m in March/April time so i'm guessing there'll still be a chill along with April showers so wanted a coat for him but I can only seem to find fleece jacket things at the min.

Most people buying prams, cots and other large baby items don't currently have a baby, though. They might huff and puff on stairs grin but they tend not to have a full pram yet.

JenaiMorris Wed 13-Feb-13 16:34:14

I don't actually think my ds had a coat at that age Kafri - he was still in layers; jumpers, cardis, fleeces, blankets I think. This was a million years ago so it's possible I've forgotten. He did have a snowsuit iirc that I barely used.

He was an autumn baby so it was still chilly at 3-6 months.

PurpleStorm Wed 13-Feb-13 22:43:32

YANBU to find it annoying when the kid's / babies section is upstairs.... but, as others have pointed out, the shops quite reasonably put the most profitable sections on the ground floor where it's most accessible to shoppers.

I do think it's madness to put the children's section upstairs if there's no lift though. There's no point in having a children's section in a shop if it can't be accessed by parents with a pushchair.

"But, you cannot get a pram past all of the clothes stands to get to the kids clothes."

I wonder - the majority of parents of young children nowadays are of the tech-savvy, online generation; do the shops anticipate that these parents will mostly shop online nowadays, and so don't feel the need to provide lifts/aisles wide enough to get a pram through?

Kafri Thu 14-Feb-13 10:06:58

Well i'm very tech savvy - a proper gadget geek. I shop online for some things and in stores for others. Clothes are something I always go into store for might explain why I have nothing to wear since having ds and my old stuff doesn't quite fit comfortably yet. I like to have a look at clothes before I buy them, and can't be bothered with the faff of sending back stuff I thought I might like but don't or that doesn't fit properly.

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