Well, yes, this will work

Guardian News & Media is eyeing premises in London\’s expensive Covent Garden to open a lifestyle store, likely to be branded \”G3\” – taking its name from the newspaper\’s G2 supplement.

The shop may form part of a larger \”lifestyle space\” and would sell \”wholesome, ethical and environmentally friendly\” products that sit comfortably with the newspaper\’s left-leaning bias, a source told The Telegraph. \”The Guardian is losing money hand over fist. It knows it needs to do something about it so it is looking at how it can extend its brand into retail,\” the source added.

Rather explains the Guardian, doesn\’t it?

Let\’s launch into retail in the middle of the worst retail crunch of the last, what, 50 years?

17 thoughts on “Well, yes, this will work”

  1. As their market will have index linked public pensions or jobs for life with guaranteed pay increases, the recession is moot.

  2. Just how far left does one have to lean to see how flogging fair-trade couscous knitting kits to London’s trendy cocaine liberals fits into the Graun’s alleged ethos?

    Far enough to end up with one’s head stuck up a dark and organic place, I would venture.

  3. And they commit to an expensive rent without trying out the products by mail order through their existing outlet first? Or has this experiment already been done and succeeded?

  4. Covent Garden? Seriously?

    Having been there at the weekend, it’s not exactly short of wholesome, ethical and environmentally friendly shops.

    It’s going to be funny watching The Guardian doing this. Let’s see if they pay a living wage to their shop staff, provide them with lots of training, time off for trade union duties, that sort of thing…

  5. The retailers getting screwed in the recession are the ones who don’t actually have any selling points. First, the utterly stupid ones went (Woolies, MFI); now the superseded-by-internet ones are struggling.

    However, niche outlets targeted at high-income (albeit flat-pay-this-year groups), selling things where there’s an advantage over web sales (I know exactly what U2’s new album will be like *insert joke here* but I can’t judge an organic hemp tea-cosy so well without seeing it), haven’t been doing so badly.

    (and yes, the Graun has been doing massive mail-order lifestyle things for a while.)

  6. Maybe they should get former Al Gore communications director Leslie Dach to advise them:

    http://2012nevadacounty.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/wal-mart-listens-to-market-and-ends-%E2%80%9Cgreen%E2%80%9D-products-customers-return/

    He brought in environmentalists, ecologists and liberal economists. They convinced the company to sell according to their preconceived ideas of justice, not to market needs.

    The result was a disaster. But last April Wal-Mart changed course and inaugurated a “Back to Basics” campaign. They informed poor and middle class consumers that the affordable stuff like cheap jeans and food were back.

    Yesterday Wal-Mart executives told financial analysts the company will break eight consecutive quarters of loss and finally see a rise in same store sales. And this during a recession.

  7. DocBud: well, yeah. Trying to sell expensive things to poor people at the top of a boom is a decent strategy, because they’re getting richer. But the thing about being poor is that when there’s a massive recession, you’re fucked and need $10 jeans and suchlike no matter what you’d ideally like to buy, so if poor people are your target audience it’s time to shift back to cheap things. The Grauniad store isn’t trying to win customers off Poundland.

  8. I am amused on many levels, not least whether they will live by the creed they wish to inflict upon everyone else. Will it be run as a co-operative? Will it be running on green energy? Will the products have the minimum of packaging and/or have recycling bins on hand for customers to leave excess packaging behind? Time will tell.

    It is also amusing that in order to stem financial losses they are doing something potentially constructive off their own bat rather than sitting on their arses demanding (more?) state subsidy and preferential treatment. People are even going to choose to buy products from them rather than be required to.

    Cynically, I can’t shake the feeling that there is some kind of wheeze involved but I’ve no idea what.

  9. Gareth: it’ll be run under the auspices of a not-for-profit (insert obvious WHICH IS LUCKY joke here) trust, like the paper. I’d be bloody surprised if it wasn’t carbon-neutral-offset, minimal-packaging and aw’ tha’.

    DocBud: genuinely don’t think you’re right here. One of the companies I work for does massive worldwide consumer surveys; since 2007, the extent to which people say they give a shit about the environment (across all income groups) hasn’t changed – rather, especially in lower-income groups, people are increasingly likely to say they’d like to buy environmentally-friendly products but can’t afford to. Which, duh.

  10. the extent to which people say they give a shit about the environment (across all income groups) hasn’t changed

    What is that extent? Most people I know earn above average income and I honestly cannot think of more than a couple who spend extra to be green. If a product, e.g red wine (of which we buy large quantities), claims to be green, organic, etc. then it stays on the shelf. I’m not alone in this. If we pay extra, it is for quality, not green credentials. I’ve only ever met one person who pays extra for green energy and never known of anyone who thinks carbon offsetting airline flights is anything but a joke. But then it would be unlikely: for 2007/2008, Qantas and Jetstar passengers voluntarily offsetted about 0.5% of their total greenhouse emissions. A tad less, I suspect, than those who claim they want to save the planet.

    http://www.qantas.com.au/infodetail/about/investors/qantasresponse2009CDP7.pdf

  11. Oh, come on, they’d have loads of branded goods to push.

    The “Toynbee Wicker Bra”

    Uncomfortable for all day use and you can faintly discern what really lies beneath…

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