A bold use of colour and print is let down by the less-than-premium experience.
The first thing of note at Karen Millen is its vivid use of print and colour, something for which the retailer is renowned, and with both these elements leading the trends for spring 12 this should definitely play into its hands. Broderie anglaise blouses, sheer watercolour-print tops and silk floral pencil skirts amount to a lively offer full of texture, vivid colours and feminine shapes. Accessories are teamed up with suggested outfits and on the top of front-facing fixtures, effectively promoting add-on purchases.
Many of Karen Millen’s price points on separates fall around the £100 mark, with a knitted lime top, a printed acetate floral skirt and blue kick-out cotton skirt all retailing at £95. The attention to design and product quality means customers are getting good value for money. The point of difference through branding highlighted by the bold engraved silver coat buttons keeps the store pushing its premium profile.
The store is tightly packed for its size but just gets away with not feeling cramped. The visual merchandising is strong, with suggested looks making it easy to pick up an entire outfit at a time. Because of the space in-store the fitting rooms are a bit of a squeeze and situated next to the till point; Drapers would have expected it to feel slightly more premium than it does. The product is well stocked but not overstocked, with a good size range of six to 16.