Karen Millen - Unit 23, Bon Accord Shopping Centre
Design-wise, product looks strong and key trends are interpreted in a sophisticated way. Neon yellow and pink come through on trims across slouchy blouses and monochrome pieces are given an edge with faux-leather panels. Bolder pop art blues and yellows are seen in miniskirts and blouses with mesh or zip details. Denim stands out, and dip-dyed and patchwork styles are edgier than usual for the chain.
There is a good range of sizes eight to 14 on the rails. Occasion and officewear is around the store perimeter, and casual in the centre, so it is easy to navigate, although key items such as knits are separated by trend, making them harder to find and compare.
The cheapest item in store is a £50 T-shirt with a studded pocket, which seems poorly made, as it is actually weighing the T-shirt down and distorting its shape. Jeans at £99 are among the most expensive on the high street, but the denim is superior quality. An orange ombré shift dress (£160) beats Coast in terms of design, although the quality is of a similar level. For pieces such as an ombré silk blouse for £110, the fabric and design justify the higher prices.
Assistants were on hand asking to take items and hang them up in the changing rooms, which feel opulent thanks to the plush carpets and huge mirrors.
Given the price points in store, service matched expectations and was on-hand but not pushy.
Visual Merchandising 8/10
The store design is minimalist and chic. Monochrome fixtures and a large amount of open floor give it a boutique feel. The shelving fixtures above the rails can make it awkward to remove items, and there is no pricing except on clothing labels. However, the store is immaculately tidy.