THE former Williams and Griffin Christmas window has been a festive tradition in Colchester for years.

But after a huge rebranding and multi-million pound makeover, this year's offering from Fenwick left many onlookers underwhelmed at the big reveal yesterday.

The display follows an Into The Woods theme with mannequins surrounded by autumn leaves and small models of woodland creatures.

In previous years, the window has wowed shoppers with huge animatronic models, a fully-fledged North Pole post office and hundreds of toys for children to stop and admire.

Several people voiced their disappointment on social media, with Colchester MP Will Quince tweeting: "Is that really it? No animatronics or fake snow in sight? I am not sure my kids would give that display a second look."


In a comment on The Gazette website, Mandy Boley said: "My family and I went to watch the Christmas lights turned on today. I have never seen anything so disappointing!

"Fennicks [sic] window was dreadful , lots of people were waiting for the unveiling.. Unveiling of what!"

Elizabeth Pinhey wrote: "Massively disappointing Christmas window, really was a big let down, you would think as their first Christmas in Colchester they would have put some effort into it.

"A couple of manakins [sic] and some moving pigeons were a massive let down."

Els Despriet, marketing manager of the Colchester store, said the comments would be taken on board.

She said: "We have had mixed reactions to our Christmas window this year.

"Our Christmas scheme is based around a journey of exploration through the woods at Christmas time – this is reflected not just in the windows, but throughout the store and echoes our journey of redevelopment over the two and a half years.

"We appreciate that some customers feel it lacks the traditional Christmas atmosphere and we would like to wholeheartedly apologise for this.

"We always take customer feedback on board and will use this in the next 12 months to ensure we don’t disappoint again."