French Connection - 55 East Street
Like Reiss, French Connection offers solid wardrobe staples and classics, but unlike its Brighton near neighbour this store works several of the season’s key trends as more directional pieces. For example, simple selvedge denim, good basic knits and a rope toggle duffle coat stand out, alongside more directional printed shorts, safari-print short-sleeved shirts and leopard-spotted knitwear.
For a long, thin store, product is well placed to get customers moving around, with a good variety and mix of pieces. Sizes range from extra small to extra large and almost every rail has one of each, which is good.
Recent seasons have seen French Connection address its pricing and quality issues and this time it has struck a nice balance between the two, as well as creating a good price architecture. A high-quality plain T-shirt featuring a small, embroidered ‘F’ logo is great value at only £14. Selvedge denim jeans are well made at £90, and come in at about the same as the likes of Ted Baker’s £95 and Reiss’s £89 equivalents.
Staff are busy maintaining the store’s clean and tidy feel when Drapers visits, but do not approach customers. Changing rooms are clean and of a high standard and fixtures and fittings are attractive. One thing that lets the shopping experience down is the large security tags, which weigh down T-shirts, making them difficult to try on.
Visual Merchandising 6/10
Half the windows feature menswear, with two mannequins alongside a still-life display, all of which highlight some of the store’s key pieces for the season. Inside, the attractive interior tries to make the most of the narrow space by using different display methods, including wall-hung rails, free-standing displays and table tops.