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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.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
black_faery
Jan. 17th, 2006 12:47 pm (UTC)
Accessorize is nicer than Claire's, but this is reflected in their prices. They're also part of the Monsoon brand, which is a shop that I can't see being associated with Claire's at all. :-)
owlfish
Jan. 17th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC)
It's true, Accessorize is nicer than Claire's, but they fill much the same niche in their respective countries. That does, in part, justify the push to expand the brand internationally from the consumer's viewpoint.

In Toronto, Accessorize opened without a Monsoon.
owlfish
Jan. 17th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC)
Also, being part of the same brand doesn't always mean a whole lot - take Pottery Barn and William Sonoma.

Or consider the way large corporations diversify - McDonalds owning Pret à Manger.
sioneva
Jan. 17th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
Ouch...I *love* Pret and am now very sad about McDonald's owning them! But I felt the same way about the Chipotle chain in the US and still kept eating there anyway.

noncalorsedumor
Jan. 17th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm kind of bummed about that too. :-/
tisiphone
Jan. 17th, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC)
I would scoff, but a greater part of me is currently going "OMG I don't have to have Nicolai import me Boots cold cream anymore!!!" Heh.
(Deleted comment)
oursin
Jan. 17th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Those exotic others
There's a French character in one of Nancy Mitford's novels - ?The Blessing? - who comes to London and enthuses over les parfums Yardley and the wonders of Woolworths ('I shall buy all my party favours there'). And at least one of the French summer language school students who used to stay with my parents had strict instructions to stock up with Bird's Custard Powder and HP Sauce and similar items that no self-respecting Gallic grocer would stock, before returning home.
a_d_medievalist
Jan. 17th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
Well, the first time X saw Heinz baked beans in the market, he bought a case, just in case. I can live without most British foodstuffs, but also know where I can buy so I don't have to give up cheese and pickle sandwiches ... and frighteningly strong tea bags.
owlfish
Jan. 18th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
I liked living in Canada - the grocery stores stocked Ribena.
noncalorsedumor
Jan. 17th, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC)
There used to be an Accessorize AND a Monsoon in the Natick Mall here in Massachusetts, but last time I went to that mall the stores were gone. :-/ RATS!
vschanoes
Jan. 17th, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC)
Well, OK, but the difference is that Boots makes the best hair products and assorted other items ever, while the CVS store brand is crap. In fact, Boots rocks my world, and the British have no idea how grateful they should be.

I don't mind if McDonald's owns Pret, though. I figure, if I keep going there, they'll decide they can make real money off of decent food and stop marketing life-threatening crap.

A woman can dream, anyway, and in the meantime, eat decent sandwiches. Though between you and me, I think M&S makes better ones.
owlfish
Jan. 18th, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC)
My hair care products of the moment seem to be unobtainable here. It's too bad we can't swap hair while living on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Pret used to make better sandwiches than they do now - or maybe that's fond memory speaking, since they didn't used to have any major competitors in their niche. They're harder to find, but Paul makes some fabulous sandwiches. My favorite sandwich shop of the moment, though, is back in Toronto, unhelpfully.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )