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In its weekend edition, the Wall Street Journal reported on how, “in an effort to attract male shoppers, department stores from Neiman Marcus to Bloomingdale's are devoting new attention – and money -- to their men's departments, with extra floor space, dedicated men's cosmetics counters and more frequent updates of men's styles. New layouts make it easier for men to deal with only one salesperson, rather than going to one for a tie and another for a pair of jeans.”

The WSJ writes, “For department stores, this is part of a broader effort to win back shoppers in the face of continuing pressure from specialty retailers. The day when one-stop shopping at the department store dominated the retail world has long since passed. Many consumers instead shop store to store at the mall, perhaps picking up a necktie at Brooks Brothers and a pair of jeans at the Gap.”

Whether it is consolidating men’s products on one area, or using greater style and panache when creating displays and marketing schemes, the stores’ overwhelming goal is to try and get men to look at clothes as part of their lifestyle choices, not as functional accoutrements.
KC's View:
What if supermarkets tried to get men to think about food in more creative ways – as part of their lifestyle choices – as opposed to just as fuel?

Sure, shopping for trousers and a shirt is different from buying meat and produce and beer. But just maybe, by not developing strategies and departments that specifically cater to men, supermarkets and other food stores are missing some big opportunities.

Just maybe.