Why Victoria’s Secret Is So Desperate – and Scared. By Jenna Ness
Ah, ‘tis the season to be shopping at the mall. Pushing my nine-month-old’s stroller, I trudge alongside my sister-in-law and her own stroller. Her three-year-old son is bounding alongside us through the bedecked halls. Burl Ives is singing over the intercom as we aim towards center court, where a crowd of children await the attention of a holly-jolly Santa. Smiling to myself, I look over the children’s heads, past the bows and bells and elves.
Voluptuous mannequins stare back from a window display in black see-thru bras, thongs and garter belts.
For those of you who don’t know,
Cringing, my sister-in-law and I hurried off to the other side of the mall.
We aren’t the only moms to be offended by
But this isn’t a blog about morality or the perils of raising a family in modern society. I could talk about that, but it’s just too depressing. What I’d like to discuss instead are two other issues brought to us by the letter M: Money and Middles. And the real reason why
If you’ve seen their current forced, cheerless TV ads, featuring models who rip off their clothes and moan into their cleavage “buy me, buy me now” (or some approximation), you know what I’m talking about.
In retail, who is doing booming business? Saks and Neiman-Marcus. Target and Wal-Mart. People either want to seriously blow their money, or hear it squeak from being pinched so hard. Middle-of-the-income department stores that are neither luxe nor cheap, like Sears and the Gap, are struggling. And
Which grocery stores are doing well? Luxury grocers like Whole Foods, or discount grocers like Food 4 Less and Wal-Mart. In the meantime, the traditional grocery stores, with unionized workers and a wide range of middle-items at middle-prices, are fighting to keep market share. Albertsons, the second largest grocery chain in the country, recently put itself up for sale.
And finally, the most pertinent questions to all of us writers.
Which genres of romance are booming? Inspirationals, where warm-hearted folks fall in love without dancing or drinking, and seal the deal with a peck on the cheek. And super-sexy stories where lust-maddened couples anonymously fall into bed and go at it for twenty pages a pop.
Which authors are doing well? You’ve got the Noras and J.K. Rowlings of the world, the blockbusters that keep publishers in business. Then you’ve got everybody else. The personalized attention that mom-and-pop booksellers used to give to midlist authors is gone in this era of big box stores and amazon. So again, the middle is disappearing – and with it, the midlist.
No one really knows how to sell mass market anymore, since other than the Super Bowl there no longer is a mass market event in
In the case of
Right in the pocketbook.
Author’s note: Last month, I promised I’d write a blog about confidence. I have a bunch of ideas about that, but I figure I’ve been wordy enough for one month. “Confidence: How to Get It (It’s Easier than You Think, Duh)” will show up some time next year.