Your Zipcode’s Fatter than Mine
I've always been fascinated by regional difference in chains, particularly where food is concerned. Near and far, a McCheesesteak 100 miles away is just as intriguing and messed up as Royal Masala pizza with sweet potato crust from a Malaysian Pizza Hut across the globe.
The differences can be subtler with stores, but they certainly cater to regional clientele, as is noted in this recent Kansas City Star article," Chain Stores Change Focus."
You start to get into tricky territory when you decide what various ethnicities might want. I don't have a problem with bilingual signage, un-American things like cactus leaves in the produce section or even Spanish language, themed paint lines like Home Depot's new Colores Origenes (though I don't know how neccessary the latter really is). Shops in predominately black neighborhoods should have make up for darker skin tones and relaxers for African-American hair.
But should clothing be garishly hued and animal printed, as is/was the case with Ashley Stewart (which I'll admit I haven't set foot in, in years)? I mean, black women do shop there, so maybe it?s inoffensive. This article also talks about Sears using more form-fitting clothing and brighter colors appeal to minorities. 'Cause you know they love it tight and trashy.
But what weirded me out the most was that Kohl's "coordinates clothing sizes in some of its stores with the body sizes of particular neighborhoods." How on earth is that determined? (I guess they just analyze the SKUs of what sells best.) I want the list of fat and skinny 'hoods. Actually, I paid a visit to the Harlem H&M after hearing who-knows-where that they had a plentiful stock of large sizes, i.e.16, the manufactured, yet phantom H&M size. It must've been an urban myth because this location was disproportionately stocked with 4s and 6s like all the rest.