Where Wal-Mart Went Wrong In Fashion (Hint: All That Cheap Junk Food Didn't Help)

Wal-Mart just lost apparel chief Claire Watts, the second in a short but incredibly dramatic line of failed hires (Wal-Tart Julie Roehm being first) Wal-Mart has made in an attempt to become "cool," and now rumors are swirling that Wal-Mart's CEO will be forced out of the company, all because the company that has transformed the global economy, upended the landscape of small-town America and whose day-to-day sales fluctuations can put millions of Chinese in and out of jobs, has failed to find the elusive Carrie Bradshaw figure that completes its Mr. Big of product offerings. (Oh, god, you know, it's early, ok?)


The thing is, as all this is going down, the Gap continues to perform suckily and the Limited Brands that ruled the malls when we were kids is being broken up by Wall Street types. We take a small amount of satisfaction in the knowledge that all three have tried to use our favorite women's magazines to mount their plans for a comeback: Wal-Mart advertised in Vogue, Gap managed to get Anna Wintour to do an entire cover foldout dedicated to its dumb white shirts, and The Limited got Elle to send its skinniest writer to pose for its latest Victoria's Secret catalog shoot. And none of it is working!The primary problem for Wal-Mart seems to be that it's kind of clueless about anything that doesn't involve being cheap. But the larger issue is that the economy that Wal-Mart (and the Gap, and The Limited) has wrought has eft Americans too sedentary to wear out their clothes, too unfamiliar with the way stuff is made to differentiate between a well- and poorly-tailored pair of pants and too fat (not to mention, poor) to care that much anyway. For the half of America that recognizes this, and votes for Democrats, Target has brand loyalty. And then there are Forever 21, H&M and Zara, companies that anachronistically still maintain some level of involvement in the actual making of their clothes and are growing like a fungus as a result.

In conclusion, I hereby resolve to exercise more control over the manufacture of all future blog posts in the future and stop outsourcing them to Lou Dobbs.

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