Pigeons on a Rail

Wal-Mart recently announced a new upscale format to attract the attention of affluent consumers. They’ll sell $500 bottles of wine and $5,000 pieces of jewelry. I was surprised (amused?) to see a multipage Wal-Mart ad for women’s clothes in Vogue. Mass retailers are reaching for the top earners, the so-called luxury market. Both JC Penney and Sterling have plans for major expansions in the coming years, and the bulk of those will be freestanding locations. Getting out of malls, certainly midmarket and low-end malls, makes sense. Most retailers now know they need to make unique statements to their target market. I also think they smell blood in the water. We are entering another round of winners and losers at every retail level. Penney sees a weakened Sears, and Federated stores are drifting. Sterling is consistently profitable at a time when some main competitors are struggling

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