Friday, November 24, 2006

The Mystery of the High-Priced Clothes Shops

I've also got a lighter note for today.

It's something I've been wondering about for quite some time now. I live in a small city in southern Germany. It's got a population of about 45,000 people - that's not large, not even by German standards.

The strange thing about my hometown is this: it's got far too many clothes stores. You might think that I exaggerate, but that's not the case. Compared to the number of other shops we've really got too many clothes stores (I'd say about 30 to 40 percent of all stores, but I've not counted and computed). They go bankrupt quite often, as you might expect, but after one of those stores has closed, another one is opened, usually somewhere in the vicinity or even in the same building.

Most of them are high-priced and I often wonder whom they expect to shop there. We're not a big city, there aren't many very rich people around and they probably shop for clothes somewhere else anyway. It's become a hard task to buy clothes to average prices in the city (but we're getting a C&A, a renown group of clothes stores, next year), but you could buy high-priced clothes in a dozen or more shops. Given the fact that unemployment has not stayed away from my hometown either (we've currently got about 10 percent of the population in unemployment in Germany), only few people are still ready to spent much money on their clothes. So why - and that's the main question here - do people still open those shops?

I've not got a theory about that. Given the fact that most shops close quite soon after they've been opened, I would expect possible owners of other clothes shops to reconsider their plans and maybe open the shop in the next bigger city around. Obviously they don't think like this. Given the fact that from looking at people passing you by you can tell they're not really fashion victims, I would expect people to think "they won't buy high-priced clothes just because they're fashionable or from a certain designer". Obviously that doesn't cross their minds either. We've got a large factory outlet not too far away and most people interested in fashionable clothes will drive there, because things are cheaper. We've got a big city with a lot of clothes shops about twenty minutes by train away, so a lot of people shop for clothes there. Why open a high-priced clothes shop in my hometown?

I just don't get it ... but I find it amusing to watch them at a grand opening one week and the clearance sale a couple of weeks or months later.

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