14 Grand Arcade
Bold and bright colours feature at River Island. A dressier women’s collection includes ankle-strap stilettos, barely there strappy heels and metallic pointy-toe court shoes in candy colours. The men’s range has a good spread of product from casual trainers to formal dress shoes.
Women’s footwear is dotted around the store and merchandised with clothes and bags of a similar colour palette. The shoe corner at the back of the store is well signposted and a range of sizes are on display.
Women’s footwear matches Topshop’s prices on some styles, including this season’s chunky-heel ankle-strap leather sandals at £55. However, River Island is less expensive than Topshop for its leather-upper pointy-toed court heels at £50, compared with Topshop’s version at £58. The men’s collection is decent value for money, with leather brogues for £50 - matching Topman’s similar version - and £40 leather loafers compared with Topman’s non-leather styles that are priced just £8 cheaper.
While the men’s footwear area is spacious and easy to navigate, the women’s is cramped. The sales assistant is helpful, and while the store can only keep products to one side for customers until the end of the day, I am given the product number of my item along with the store’s phone number should I wish to call the next morning and put the shoes on hold for a second day.
Visual Merchandising 8/10
Mannequins throughout the store and in the window are dressed with varying styles of shoes, showing the width of River Island’s range. The window also features stepladders displaying standout pieces - including on-trend suede brogues with contrast-colour soles for men and bejewelled sandals for women - which catch the eye and help draw shoppers into the store.