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Retail Therapy: What Mannequins Say About Us
Like the larger fashion industry, mannequin design echoes seasonal styles that come and go, both in regard to technological improvements and the way we view our bodies. “It’s often the body attitudes and facial expressions that reflect what’s going on socially,” says Hale. Accordingly, the stiff, unnatural bodies of early mannequins were well-matched for the Victorian Era‘s restrictive ideas about women’s rights and fashions, which dictated they wear many layers of heavy fabric over tight-fitting corsets.
[more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 1, 2014 - 14 comments

It's last call to do your shopping at the last mall

The Guardian on the decline of America's shopping malls. "Dying shopping malls are speckled across the United States, often in middle-class suburbs wrestling with socioeconomic shifts. Some, like Rolling Acres, have already succumbed. Estimates on the share that might close or be repurposed in coming decades range from 15 to 50%. Americans are returning downtown; online shopping is taking a 6% bite out of brick-and-mortar sales; and to many iPhone-clutching, city-dwelling and frequently jobless young people, the culture that spawned satire like Mallrats seems increasingly dated, even cartoonish.

The trend is especially noticeable in the Midwest, a former blue-collar bastion where ailing malls have begun dotting suburban landscapes. Outside of Chicago, Lakehurst Mall was levelled in 2004 and the half-vacant Lincoln Mall is costing its host village millions in botched redevelopment plans. Dixie Square Mall sat vacant for more than 30 years after serving as the backdrop for the iconic chase scene in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. It was finally demolished in 2012. Many others will similarly lie dormant as they wait for the wrecking ball."
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 19, 2014 - 181 comments

Buy Design: Meet Paco Underhill, retail anthropologist

"Nothing is in a grocery store is where it is by accident. Every item on a shelf has been planned." Theatrically lit fruits and veggies? Limbic system-triggering flowers up front? Subtle manipulation of the shopping path? Meet Paco Underhill, master of the science of shopping, author, and founder of a consulting firm that specializes in advising companies on how small changes in retail environments can add up to increased sales. Think of him as a tour guide (YT, from his firm) who explains how these spaces are designed and why we fall for it. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Aug 10, 2012 - 42 comments

Some Shoppers Are More Equal Than Others

Supermarkets are attempting to customize prices for different shoppers. At a Safeway in Denver, a 24-pack of Refreshe bottled water costs $2.71 for Jennie Sanford, a project manager. For Emily Vanek, a blogger, the price is $3.69. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 10, 2012 - 164 comments

Don't take it personally

"I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave: My brief, backbreaking, rage-inducing, low-paying, dildo-packing time inside the online-shipping machine"
posted by vidur on Feb 27, 2012 - 242 comments

Cosmopolitan Corner

A look inside HMV's flagship store on London's Oxford Street. 1960s. 1970s. After a troubled year for the record chain, here's how the same building looks today.
posted by mippy on Aug 27, 2011 - 42 comments

Bargain Junkies Are Beating Retailers at Their Own Game

A new brand of super shoppers use coupons and other discounts to get products for absurdly low prices. The Web has turned this group from a series of independent operators into cohesive groups, frustrating retailers.
posted by reenum on Dec 3, 2010 - 126 comments

Mooing Vuitton in the verdant fields of a mall.

"What was lost in the realm of economic exchange is reclaimed in the realm of cultural/semiotic performance. Branding also identifies the product relative to the chain of signifiers constituting its brand “family,” in the same way that ranchers brand livestock with the sign of their ranch." [via]
posted by nickrussell on Sep 15, 2010 - 11 comments

Fashion versus Clothes

Two articles about successful clothes retailers - Uniqlo and Abercrombie & Fitch - that are both full of interesting tidbits ("Uniqlo is a company that prescribes, records, and analyzes every activity undertaken by every employee, from folding technique to the way advisers return charge cards to customers. Japanese style, with two hands and full eye contact"). In addition, the two articles have a lot to say about branding and what companies place importance on - with A&F coming across as a typical fashion retailer, aggressively selling and marketing a very specific look, and Uniqlo seeming to be doing something quite different and contrary to received wisdom. [more inside]
posted by Sifter on May 15, 2010 - 44 comments

Roberts Supremes reverses 100 years of antitrust law

There's been much talk about the Supreme's decisions on desegregation and free speech, but another ruling with broad consumer impact has gone relatively unnoticed. In a 5-4 decision [PDF], the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 96-year-old ban on minimum pricing agreements between manufacturers and retailers. Dissenting opinion believes that this ruling will hurt consumers, raise prices and keep new retailers out of the marketplace. The 1911 ruling that was overturned was Dr. Miles Medical Co. vs. John D. Park & Sons which decided that it is always illegal for a supplier to dictate minimum prices to a retailer.
posted by dejah420 on Jun 29, 2007 - 47 comments

107 'Add to Shopping Cart' Buttons

Add to Cart, Buy, Buy Now, Add to Brown Bag? 107 clickable shopping cart buttons on one page. Most popular colour: red. I only recognize the Amazon button--clearly I need to hone my online shopping-fu.
posted by dbarefoot on May 15, 2007 - 17 comments

I wasn't even supposed to be here today

This job would be great if it weren't for the customers... Demon customers might not just annoy employees, but they may actually cost businesses money. Maybe a guide would be useful.
posted by drezdn on Jul 27, 2004 - 63 comments

Happy Thanksgiving or Is It?

Happy Thanksgiving or Is It? In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt responed to pressure from the National Retail Dry Goods Association to move the official date of Thanksgiving back one week to the next-to-last Thursday of the month. FDR hoped that this would enliven the economy by adding one week to the Christmas shopping season, but he received considerable political flak for tampering with what many viewed as a sacred religious holiday. (Thanksgiving is considered sacred even though it only became a national holiday due to lobbying by the editor of a 19th century woman's magazine.) New Deal-era Republicans were especially bothered by the calendar change and one essayist at the American Enterprise Institute still seems to carry a grudge. Congress later resolved the issue by passing a resolution in 1941 that designated Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November.
posted by jonp72 on Nov 26, 2002 - 11 comments

Finding What You Are Looking For in a Music/Video Store

Finding What You Are Looking For in a Music/Video Store
Sing to us if you want, but know that this method has a less than 50% success rate. Typically, we stand there and go, "Uhh... I dunno." And from my past experience, the people that work in music stores do not generally enjoy the majority of mainstream crap music.
posted by riley370 on Nov 29, 2001 - 74 comments

Crazy Eddie

Crazy Eddie is back, and he's on the Internet. Rising from the ashes of what the accountants call "one of the twentieth century’s most infamous financial statement frauds," the consumer-electronics retailer is offering once again to "beat any price you can find," along with all-new radio commercials! Just like being in New York in the 80s again.
posted by grimmelm on Dec 3, 2000 - 9 comments

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