“Aspirational” Shoppers Look To Private Brand Fashion.

This article from the Boston Globes website boston.com presents an interesting snapshot of the “aspirational” middle class shopper with luxury tastes although it is focused on fashion it is relevant to many channels and categories. Whether the “aspirational” shopper is choosing high dollar handbags, specialty foods or high dollar electronics they are looking for a value. If Private Brands can fill that need/desire they can reach new customers and create loyalty.

Are your brands up to the challenge?

The following is an excerpt from that article.

As recession stops splurges, luxury retailers retool

Liz Wyman is done splurging on indulgences like a $300 leather Michael Kors bag and a pair of $575 black suede Cole Haan boots.

Instead, the 46-year-old state lawyer in Maine is scrimping however she can, tossing out catalogs from Neiman Marcus and avoiding Saks and Nordstrom at all costs. With her income eroding, she says, “I have to walk away.’’

Wyman is emblematic of the “aspirational shoppers’’ – middle-class consumers with luxury tastes – who have disappeared during the Great Recession. Their newfound frugality has contributed to an estimated 16 percent plunge in luxury spending over the past year, according to a report by Bain & Co.

But retailers are not giving up so easily; they are trying to rekindle middle-class America’s love affair with luxury by working with designers to create lower entry prices for high-end brands like Gucci and Christian Dior.

Steve Sadove, chief executive of Saks, said his company is promoting a private-label men’s collection that offers upscale garments like cashmere sweaters for hundreds of dollars less than designer brands. And the chain, which saw sales drop about 15 percent last year, is also featuring exclusive designer lines with lower prices, including one from Zac Posen. Although Posen’s namesake runway label costs $900 to $6,000, Z Spoke, made just for Saks, will start at about $80 for a T-shirt.

“The aspirational customer, if they are shopping, is looking for value,’’ Sadove said.

Read the entire story.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.