Local vs. Global

I have spent the last year generally bemoaning the gradual spread of global retailing.  I hate the idea of eating ‘Pain Quotidien’ in New York or London. I love ‘Paul’ in Paris, but loath it in Brussels. I want to buy ‘River Island and All Saints’ in London, ‘Anthropology, A&F and Whole Foods’ in New York, and and and.  The list is endless. The joy of shopping comes from the joy of new discoveries, of travelling and exploring, and finding that one off store (Merci in Paris, Le Labo and ABC carpet in NYC). Or the local retailer so tuned in to what the customer wants (and therefore needs) in his own community (London is so good at this -> think Shoreditch and the east end, or Brooklyn in NY, and Mitte in Berlin).

Then today I had a redefining moment. Restricted to a diet of Brussels, more Brussels, with a touch of Dusseldorf (and Albert Heijn briefly in NL on route), I felt that quiver of excitement…………Abercrombie & Fitch are coming to Brussels.  Not Antwerp…..  Brussels….  Down my road (Avenue to be precise).  WOW! We can shop amongst the Chanel babe’s of Toison D’Or, compete with the Saville Row luxe of the London store.  But deep down, I felt that same old struggle going on…… it won’t be the same buzz as shopping in the USA.

One final word until it opens in march 2011.  It will be like Disneyland Paris , how can you have hunky men and gorgeous half naked women at the door (like Mickey and Minnie in Paris), saying ‘have a great day’ in french?

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