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Cheap Chic, Led By Captive Brands, Gains Globally

Whether it's fashion, food, or any other product category, cheap chic is clearly a global trend, says Barry Silverstein. Aldi supermarkets, with 7,000 stores across three continents, won the 2007 Quality Food Award for eight of its gourmet store products. European design house Moschino features a line of clothing, accessories, and perfumes under the brand name "Cheap and Chic." India's Tata Group has extended cheap chic to its line of Ginger hotels.

Silverstein leads with the success of Target in cultivating an image of "cheap chic" to differentiate itself, and points out its emphasis on cultivating relationships with name-brand designers like Mossimo, Isaac Mizrahi, Philippe Starck, and Sigerson Morrison to deliver merchandise at a price point far less than the brands sold at more expensive retailers. K-Mart, Sears, Kohl's and Walmart have all followed suit.

Target is now exerting its cheap-chic strategy in upscale foods. Its Archer Farms brand uses upscale packaging, but the prices are unusually affordable. And chains such as Trader Joe's supermarkets trade on the consumer's desire for affordable gourmet products. Trader Joe's differentiator is that it sources and packages as much as 80% of its products, so most of the specialty items on its shelves are priced considerably below gourmet food stores.



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