Fashion chain Coast is to go back to its occasionwear roots as it launches a new store format to attract a wider audience.

Mike Shearwood, chief executive of owner Aurora Fashions, said it had decided to “stick to what it knows best” and refocus on occasionwear after a previous attempt to broaden its offer with smart daywear.

The retailer has also launched a new store format – which debuted at its House of Fraser, Oxford Street concession this week – that aims to appeal to all age groups in occasionwear. Shearwood said: “We want to provide an environment that appeals across the ages, from 16- to 17-year-olds looking for their prom dresses to the mother-of-the-bride looking for her dress.”

Coast managing director Margaret McDonald described the new look as being “modern, light, bright and airy, with clean lines”.

She said: “Our collection is quite broad and we service not just different ages but different occasions too and we need to showcase that. We need space to be able to show off our clothes and allow people to spend time choosing what they want.”

The new store format takes its inspiration from an art gallery, a destination that has cross-generation appeal according to Shearwood, who said the retailer is working out how to transfer the “art gallery feel” to its retail stores.

Coast is aiming to open a new flagship store in the updated format, and is considering locations in London’s West End. 

Aurora is hoping the store, which will replace its current flagship on Regent Street, will be a “destination”, attracting overseas visitors in the capital.

Coast will also roll out the format across its UK concessions next year, as well as in Bloomingdale’s in the US. The retailer will open concessions in five of the department stores over the next month.

Coast has continued to perform well during tough times as people continue to invest in outfits for special occasions according to Shearwood.