Haute Couture

may 21, 2007

Hehe.  Hold on while I stop laughing.  "Wal-Mart" and "fashion" in the same sentence?  Whoever came up with such a silly idea?  Apparently, someone at Wal-Mart did.

The world's largest retailer said Monday it will reduce by an undisclosed amount the number the U.S. stores selling a fashion line by designer Mark Eisen, which it unveiled last year as part of a drive to match successful low-price designer labels at rivals like Target Corp. But a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the reduction will not be as large as the retailer's rollback of its urban-style Metro 7 line for women. "You're not going to get someone to think about dressing up for dinner tonight at Cafe Pierre while they're inside a Wal-Mart," said an analyst.
Here's the thing, Wal-Mart's push to get affluent people to shop at their place instead of Target?  Not going to work.  Why?  Wal-Mart stupidly pushed an image of "we're cheap" for years.  Adding some "fashion" to the racks at the local Supercenter is not going to change the image of "we're cheap".   When you solely push the "we're cheap" image to the public, you're not just pushing an image of low priced items.  You're also pushing an image that your stuff is not fancy or "haute couture". What Target did correctly was push an image that they are low-priced and trendy.  That way, Target can attract the trend-setting crowd, who usually spend more money at Target stores.  Target has a different public image than Wal-Mart.  Target is a place where there is cool stuff.   Wal-Mart is a place where, uh, you can get a cheap t-shirt with a bad silk screened design on it. An analyst correctly pointed out,  "If Wal-Mart doesn't address this fashion issue, it runs the risk of ending up like Kmart."  Unfortunately, it seems that Wal-Mart has tried to address their fashion issue -- and failed.  The public does not feel that "Wal-Mart" equates to "fashion".  Wal-Mart is this decade's Kmart.