Coast - Unit 22, Bon Accord Shopping Centre
Coast ticks more trend boxes than Monsoon when it comes to occasionwear, with Yves Klein blue, neon brights, yellow and hot pink standing out as the colours of the season. However, the dresses themselves have not moved forward, and a lot of the silhouettes are from last season. A few do catch the eye: a black shift style with an oversized white bow and a metallic beaded maxi-dress with cap sleeves.
A fair range of sizes are on display, although they tend to be around the middle, with smaller and larger sizes not seen on the shop floor. Some of the separates, such as tops, would be better placed on their own rail, as they tend to get lost among the bulkier dresses.
The strong price architecture for which Coast scored well last season is still evident, and there are plenty of options around the £100 mark offering really good value. A £75 dress has faux-leather sleeves, a double-layered skirt and a concealed zip, details that exceed similarly priced dresses in Warehouse. Higher prices go up to £125 for an elastane-mix body-con dress, which looks particularly durable in terms of the stitching, up to £350 for an all-over beaded maxi-dress, which seems steep, but it is beautifully made. However, some separates, such as blouses for around £55, do not stand up against cheaper options in Next or Marks & Spencer.
By far one of the better changing rooms visited, Coast’s plush carpets, draped curtains and flattering lighting work very well. Sales assistants are not as hands-on as in Karen Millen but, given that the store is much smaller, this could have been claustrophobic.
Visual Merchandising 6/10
In the small store, a central table display is the main focus, flagging up accessories with one mannequin above it. It works well, as it doesn’t seem overcrowded. Four mannequins show off key styles in the window, where stickers jazz up the display, but it could be much more innovative.