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Hit or miss: River Island - 21/30

A mixed bag of fresh trends and outdated styles. Quality control is also a little slack.

  • Level One, Rose Gallery

Product 7

Women’s focuses on the season’s major boot styles, with cut-outs, grungy buckles and chain embellishment key.

Grunge-inspired metal trims and panels update simple boot styles, while an offer of nearly 10 pointed courts in different variations of heel height and colour provides something for everyone. A range of blingy occasionwear shoes is good to see as there was a dearth of these styles in Bluewater, although not much else in the store offers a point of difference.

A solid range of men’s styles matches competitors. Desert and Chelsea boots stand out alongside a line of military-inspired boots that are beginning to look dated, having been phased out by other stores. Several options of the trend-led fashion running shoes look good, in bold colour combos or leopard print, alongside plain
colour-block options for more conservative shoppers. Interesting foamy cleated soles provide a fresher option on classic men’s styles, which is refreshing to see.

Value 6

PU cut-out buckled boots start at £45, which is the same price as Topshop’s most basic style, but Topshop wins on quality. Real leather and suede Chelsea boots at £65 and brogue-detailed Chelsea boots at £40 are both good value considering the quality. Men’s desert boots are £50, matched at Topman but of a lower quality here. Cleated white-sole shoes are good value at £50, while the fashion sneakers are £35 - slightly more expensive than Topman but up to scratch in terms of quality.

Experience 8

Cut-out boots for women and men’s fashion sneakers are placed at the entrance to each area respectively, drawing attention to hero pieces. Some styles are helpfully merchandised throughout the store, while dedicated footwear areas are strong and well organised, with helpful, pleasant staff and good fixtures and fittings.


View the full report here

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