January 17th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances

Store brand exotica

About a year ago, the first Canadian branch of the widespread British chain Accessorize opened in Yorkville, an upscale-chic shopping area in Toronto. Fashion magazines raved about the elegance and British sophistication of the shop. In the UK, Accessorize is the equivalent of Claire's.

I was reminded of that this weekend when I saw Target advertising its product coup: "Discover the British Aisle!" trumpeted the posters. "Boots Health and Beauty Products now available exclusively at Target". It's also available "exclusively" at CVS, a largely east coast of the US chain of pharmacies. For the Brits, this would be like having Boots (an enormous pharmacy chain) carry CVS's own store brand products.

Funny as it seems to me, having something so mundane marketed as exotica, I shouldn't really laugh. I know all too well the perils of product loyalty: I've been buying almost all my socks from BHS (a major British department store chain), even while living in Canada.