Matalan's stores average 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2). The majority of Matalan's stores are based in out of town locations, based upon a concept that John Hargreaves discovered was successful in America, and that he launched in Preston in 1985. Each store is typically divided into four departments, Women's, Men's, Kids' and Homeware.
In 2010, the potential buyout of Matalan fell through after the companies interested could not meet the £1.5 billion price tag placed on the company by Hargreaves. An offer of £1.3 billion was rumoured to have been rejected. Following the breakdown in any buyout, plans were made by Hargreaves to invest more money into the Matalan brand. As well as investment into the stores in the United Kingdom, plans are in place to open a further 5/6 stores in Scotland and plans are also in place about the possibility of opening Matalan stores outside of the United Kingdom.
Matalan has been awarded for the third time with the Gold award at the Mumsnet Family Friendly awards. 
A card system is used within its stores. As the years went on they changed the system so that anyone could join and get a Matalan card for £1. In 2003, Matalan removed the £1 charge for the card, and the card is now free and no longer needed to process transactions.
The card acts as an incentive to customers by offering them:cardholder discounts and exclusive offers;
the use of the card enables a hard receipt to be stored on the store computer system, allowing exchanges without the receipt.
vouchers by e-mail OR post, including one on the cardholder's birthday;
Spend £150 in 12 months using a red Matalan card and you will be given a VIP black card which gives the customer better and more exclusive vouchers.
mailer updates on products and offers.
In 2006, Matalan trialed a reward scheme using points on the Matalan card in Scottish stores. At the same time, a keyfob was introduced as an alternative to the card, similar to Tesco Clubcard. However Matalan did not roll out this scheme to the rest of the stores, and concentrated on offering more to the customer in store.
In 2014, Matalan launched a mobile reward card app, allowing customers to register using their existing card number or registering online.
During 2007, Matalan began to trial an in-store café concept, to attract more customers into stores. M Cafe's menu was based around healthy options, selling food and drinks with little or no sugar. The cafe itself was based around the shape of a coffee bean, with dark brown and stainless steel fittings creating a contemporary setting.
However, the cafés were later disbanded. The space at the trial stores, Stockport and Southport, have been turned into hearing aid centres, where customers can also get free hearing tests.
In addition to their traditional stock management, Matalan operate a number of concessionary product offers in store. These include:Jewellery - provided for men, women and children by firm DCK.
Books - traditionally located within the homeware department near the tills. Stocked by Webb.
Matalan sell their own brands as well as other well known brands.Easy - casual wear
Lincoln (Formerly Easy Classic) - casual wear for older customers
Taylor and Wright - suits, shirts, ties and formal wear
24/7 - a Jeff Banks range
Farah Classic - designed by Farah
W10 - designed by Julien Macdonald
Pringle - a range of underwear and socks
Papaya Weekend - casual wear
Papaya Collection - Formal wear
Papaya Classic - casual and formal wear for older customers
Falmer Heritige - an Abercrombie-style range launched in 2011
Rogers & Rogers - a range for larger women size 18 to 30
Soon - a range of higher quality designs
Philip - designed by Philip Armstrong
Abbey - designed by Abbey Clancy
Sloggi and Maidenform - underwear
FWM - Fenn Wright Manson, a premium range of smart/formal/occasionwear designs
Disney - Disney licensed clothing
Denim73 - Boyswear fashion for 8 to 16 year olds
Candy Couture - Girlswear fashion for 9 to 16 years olds
As the United Kingdom economic downturn took hold in late 2008, value retailers such as Matalan began to benefit from the more cost-aware spending of the United Kingdom consumer base, as well as the demise of rivals, such as Woolworths & Ethel Austin. This was in addition to store refurbishment, stock and marketing revision, and debt repayment. Increased revenue allowed Matalan to begin expanding again, and opening new stores for the first time in three years.
As well as expansion in the United Kingdom, Matalan have opened stores overseas, in countries including Jordan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
Matalan own sports fascia Sporting Pro, which launched in September 2013. They have opened twelve stores across the UK in Walsall, Coleraine, Harlow, Colchester, Leeds (2 stores), Stockton, Sheffield, Stockport and Wakefield, and Kensington.
Sporting Pro offer a similar Reward Card scheme as Matalan. With the Sporting Pro card, 1% of all transactions will be donated to SportingPromise. Sporting Promise is partnered by Matalan and Sporting Pro, as well as the Youth Sport Trust and aims to ensure children across the country have access to sports activity in school.
Matalan took the decision to discontinue the Sporting Pro venture in 2015. All stores have now ceased trading.
To make sure that season ranges are given full attention upon launch, Matalan converted a small selection of its stores into clearance outlets. These stores are stocked through stock uplifts from regular branches, where old stock is taken in mass (often the culmination of 2 or more sale periods) and supplied to clearance branches. Matalan dustbin stores are generally selected from branches that are nearing the end of their lease or are located in an area which is commercially viable for a store of a clearance nature. Matalan has clearance stores in Blythswood (Renfrew, near Glasgow Airport), Newport, Wood Green (London), Exeter and Sunderland. There are also stores in Portadown and Swindon, however these are both due to close.
Matalan goods are distributed to shops from three distribution centres:Skelmersdale - adjacent to the head office buildings, the Skelmersdale DC delivers to stores primarily in the north of the UK. The centre is made up of two buildings, one of which supplies goods directly to stores. The SDC is also the base of Matalan's logistical operation.
Corby - the most recently opened depot, supplying stores in the south of the UK.
Knowsley - the smallest of the three centres. Primarily for distributing bulk goods. Knowsley houses a small office complex.
Matalan has received criticism for exploitative labour practices and for not living up to its responsibilities to workers who produce its garments. Matalan was amongst the companies who sourced clothes from the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, which collapsed killing 1129 people in April 2013. In 2014, they were the focus of a campaign by 38 Degrees and Labour Behind The Label for failing to contribute to the official compensation fund co-ordinated by the ILO. This was in contrast to some of their main competitors, such as Primark who contributed $9 million. After pressure, they announced that they would contribute an undisclosed amount. It was later revealed that they had paid £60,000 in to the fund, which labour rights campaigns challenged as being an insufficient amount compared with other retailers.
In November 2014, Matalan sponsored Celebration Of Style, a three-day event to celebrate fashion, art, photography and architecture in Liverpool (hometown of MD, Jason Hargreaves). The event was backed by Matalan and organised by Cricket Fashion co-founder, Justine Mills and Denise Harris of SK Events. Well known industry figures were in attendance including designer Matthew Williamson, British hair stylist, Andrew Collinge and fashion photographer, Tim Bret Day, as well as Matalan designer and ambassador, Abbey Clancy.