Why don’t stores put the stockings next to the bras?

Don't worry children, it won't hurt a bit...

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My Christmas shopping is going very well this year. Like most men, my method is smash and grab, in and out as quickly as possible.

In fact, I spent more time in the cafe at M&S than actually shopping. But what I did notice was a lack of common sense in the store displays. Or was it?

There was a mannequin dressed in some very saucy underwear. A perfect present for my other half and, of course, for me.

It’s hard enough getting the size right for the bra and pants, but finding any accessories is mind-boggling.

You would have thought it would make sense to hang the stockings next to the bras. But no, that would be too easy.

After walking to what felt like John O’Groats with still no luck, I had to resort to asking a lady.

She then walked me over to Lands End where, in the shoe section, was a large collection of stockings.

‘Are they for you sir?’ came the question, accompanied by sniggers from several women shoppers.

‘I don’t think I’d fit into a size 10, do you?’ I replied.

I think the shop assistant was asking if the gift was as much for my pleasure as for Sarah’s and what style of stocking I preferred, not implying that I was about to re-enact the video to Queen’s hit I Want To Break Free.

But maybe this is all just clever marketing. Purchase an item, but to buy an accessory for it you have to walk around the whole store, going past many other items that you will be tempted to buy.

The convenience of these out-of-town superstores is plain to see. Can the High Street really compete?

Can retail guru Mary Portas’s dream be realised? Can a High Street ever really offer free parking next to your store, which is undercover and air-conditioned?

Gunwharf Quays versus Commercial Road, Fareham High Street against Hedge End retail park.

At the moment there is no competition. As time goes by we want more convenience, not less. We want things now and we don’t want to have to walk far to get them.

Unless, of course, it’s a pair of hold-up stockings!