A first-rate product offer, but prices and in-store merchandising aren’t as competitive.
As always, River Island ticks all the trend boxes while delivering its own take too. What stands out is the breadth – some items wholly encapsulate the season’s look while similar pieces are less bold but still nod to trends. Mustard and berry tones sit alongside brights that are never too extreme. Knitwear is strong, with key intarsia and Fair Isle options. There are almost 20 different colours and styles of chinos, as well as cords in seven colourways.
An entire window is dedicated to menswear, with a mix of product and eye-catching mannequins. Clothes are well merchandised but some displays fail to impress. While other stores have great imagery that clearly illustrates differences in fit and wash, River Island’s small handwritten signs don’t match up. Staff were helpful but the changing rooms were unattended.
The difference in price between River Island and competitors like Topman is much smaller this season. A chunky cable-knit jumper is £28 and trend-driven intarsia and Fair Isle options start at £32 and can go up to £70, matching the likes of Topman. A padded gilet is £45 and an on-trend fisherman-style duffle coat featuring rope toggles is £80, £5 cheaper than Topman. Surprisingly, River Island’s basic chinos come in at £30, compared with £28 at Topman.