Matalan’s sub-brands are accurately pitched and well executed. Be Beau’s young party-led offer has floral strapless prom dresses; Papaya’s young casual offer includes handkerchief print kaftan dresses and nautical striped knits; and Et Vous includes on-trend styles such as a striped shirt with an oversized pussy bow for older customers. Footwear (particularly the heeled multiple zip-strap sandals) and Destiny fashion jewellery range with its multi-strand pearl necklaces is another highlight.
Still in its first season Be Beau’s representation is limited to only a few pieces. Instead floor space is dominated by Papaya, while Et Vous and the strong plus-size range Rogers & Rogers get a more edited outing. Larger is the denim section which dominates one wall with slim-leg, cropped, and kick-flares.
Standout styles from Be Beau alongside Matalan’s version of Jimmy Choo’s zip-strap sandal flank the ground-floor escalator luring shoppers up to the large womenswear floor. Once upstairs, sub-brands are jumbled and could do with clearer segregation. Labelling on Papaya with its dainty handwriting is spot on, as is the clearly sectioned denim area.
A surprisingly trend-led casual offer with enticingly low prices. Prom dresses and kaftan dresses are £25, basic knits start at £6, a pleated gingham skirt with ribbon tie waist is £16, wide-leg trousers weigh in at £14, and blouses are around £16. Footwear ranges from Converse style pumps for £6 through to trend-led heels from £15 to £18.