River Island - 14 Lower Level Mall, Union Square Shopping Centre
As the shop was the smallest one reviewed, there is less product, although trends such as neon, fluffy knits, florals, jumpsuits and monochrome are all covered. Some items such as digital-print dresses do not seem to have moved on significantly from last season and much of the offer looks very young, with bright colours or slim silhouettes, compared with the broader age range seen in Warehouse and Topshop.
The shop is diminutive but not overstuffed, which works well. However, in some categories, such as dresses, this means the range is limited in terms of styles - most are very slim-fitting, for example. Given the size of the shop a good balance is struck between more transitional pieces and lots of summery products, such as shorts and vests.
Some items such as a £30 printed playsuit or £20 camisole stand out as cheaper than Warehouse. But a trench coat for £75 cannot compete with Warehouse’s £55 version, as the quality does not seem better. Slogan T-shirts for £16 are quite expensive, but cheaper than Topshop’s plain options for the same price and quality. Dresses for around £30 are very thin and better-quality options are available in Zara in quite similar designs.
Staff were very friendly and made a big effort to dart between the changing room, shoe area and tills to avoid anyone being kept waiting. The changing rooms are lovely: whitewashed wood and pink curtains feel very appropriate for the age range the shop is targeting.
Visual Merchandising 8/10
Windows are summery, with a lilac and yellow theme standing out against the drabber offer from Zara nearby, although more eye-catching clothing could have been displayed given what’s in store . Good use is made of advertising for click-and-collect throughout the store, as it is so small, and details such as floor-to-ceiling mirrors and armchairs create a boutique feel.