Target, the supermarket chain, is selling 15-packs of new Christmas food from Marks & Spencer, my all-time favo(u) UK grocer. The line, available in stores and online, is heavy on packaging, including a music box and one that looks like a double-decker bus. If you, for some reason, are sick of your Christmas biscuit tins not doubling as homemade lights, rest easy – prayers are answered. For anyone wondering why Target is importing holiday collections from British retailers, let me explain.
Here’s what you need to know about British supermarket chains: Unlike in the US, where popular regional supermarkets are consolidated into a single holding that retains local brands , leading to the unification of small countries, the big ones here. most are independent and individual in their participants. And yet Britain is so small that it is, well, a region, food. All its main chains are national concerns.
Tesco is where you get a Cornetto at 9:50pm on a Sunday when you’ve had a bit of wine after sitting in the park all day. Asda is an overgrown and less-grimy Tesco. The blaringly orange monolith Sainsbury’s represents the center of British foundations. Co-op has a little bit of everyone’s charm, and do they do funerals? Waitrose sits at the top of the pack, the poshest of the bunch, its name as green as the Buck House lawns, where the king’s raspberries he sells life.
M&S sit a little astride these. It left its base as a food store on Oxford Street, so its convenience stores and grocery stores, the latter also known as “foodhalls,” kept the street. live in the environment. In the UK, M&S has a reputation for quality but pricey. (In addition to its lingerie department, it is historically known for selling really good clothes.)
Announce collaboration, Food & wine compared M&S to its new partner, but I found it to be more Trader Joe’s than Target. Like Trader Joe’s, M&S usually sells its own brands of everything; its seasonal changes of one-off novelty items are robust; he treads boorishly to alluring world foodways and lurid little rip-offs; and there are quirky inside descriptions strewn across its food items, if you know how to find them. For example, this year M&S celebrated the 30th birthday of its mascot, Percy Pig, with a number of wacky themed products and a historic red carpet to recognize him at Paddington station .
So, what’s the cost of bringing M&S products to Target for the holidays? RetailWire has speculated that Target is looking to recreate its much-heralded fashion brand collab synergy in its grocery store. M&S may be a good candidate because its products are not available in the US, given their lack of influence on Target’s many designer partnerships. For a grocery store it has a very strong – and especially British – brand identity. One way from is in how incongruously to add its Christmas bonanza weight. As I don’t celebrate Christmas, the American Christmas culture has always had a little show. In the UK, however, they don’t even pretend there’s anything else to celebrate. And since many modern Christmas traditions are Victorian – as in, like, popularized by Queen Victoria – M&S products bring a bit of this British Christmas spirit to Target.
Stronger, the M&S food arm captures the architectural beauty of Britain that makes the culture it best exports. The school offers products such as West Country Luxury Yogurt in flavors such as strawberry and sugar that make Arcadian Albion with its neon-green flowers and “Goblin Market” the soft fruit, and other things like the Indian Starter Selection Side Dish, which speaks to the country. post-Blairite and postcolonial (formation of) reforms in the modern capitalist world. Other British grocers sell international products, too, but M&S’s framing makes it British-oriented and understated.
Maybe you’ve read all this and thought, isn’t the whole of the United Kingdom good for shame? Didn’t they burn our leader in four months? (Five if you count the kings, I guess.) Isn’t their business ruined? Haven’t they completely and utterly screwed themselves? Why do we need mementos of any of that?
It’s all true, and if it’s okay to make some suggestions in the name of journalism: If I’m a company with international brands field that has already produced a beautiful Christmas product, and yet I am worried that I will not be able to sell it to a terrible customer whose profit has completely disappeared, maybe I will try to offload it where it may have some cachet. Just theorizing for funsies – I have no hard rock proof of this. What I have are two pairs of M&S jeans that I bought in 2006, and they show no sign of slowing down. So if you’re going to waste your money on something you don’t really need, it’s pretty cool, this stuff is M&S.