shopping

Has anyone else notice the bizarre and unending proliferation of super-size shoe departments at megastores everywhere? Today Selfridges unveiled its new gigantic men’s footwear floor, trumpeting it as “the largest men shoe department in the world:” over 15,000 square feet and 250 brands. Yoiks! This follows the recent creation of the “world’s largest woman’s shoe floor” at Macy’s NY, a whopping 39,000 square feet; last summer’s reveal of Barneys new unisex shoe floor, which is 40% bigger than its last piddly pair of shoe departments; and Saks’ addition of 7,000 square feet of women’s shoe space to its existing shoe department. Call me Scrooge, but this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
 

Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre, September 13, 2011. Image by Getty.

Whether you think the new the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre is a job generator, sign of rejuvenation in London’s East End and general source of economy-boosting shopping convenience or a hubristic temple to mammon sullying the pure spirit of the Olympics taking place next door, (and during a downturn to boot) it’s here. And it’s gigantic.

The opening day, Tuesday, was not the best time to evaluate such a behemoth with a cool head, because it was absolutely swarming with shoppers. Some were buying, but most were mouths agape at screens showing former Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger, who was performing at the opening ceremony. Also any comprehensive review would take until 2012 because it’s huge, and schlepping round it is akin to an Olympic marathon. 

All is revealed! Google has posted the following announcement/explanation of their fashion site, courtesy of Munjal Shah, product management director. And, because companies tend to dress up such statements, I’ve done my best to parse the patterns underneath:

“The way we shop for fashion is different from how we buy cameras—especially online. With fashion, reviews and specs are less important; fashion shopping is about discovering something that fits your taste and feels right.”

Wait! I thought fashion shopping was about trying things on and sharing them with your friends to get comments? Isn’t that what other sites have been selling? Google is telling us whatever dot com we’ve been visiting is wrong.

“The web works well for buying cameras and other hard goods but for soft goods, such as clothing and accessories, it’s not the same as shopping in a store.”

Have they been talking to the luxury guys? This is their rap. 

This morning Bain & Company released a study, in conjunction with American Vogue, on the shopping habits of the “style-conscious” US consumer.