The Coming Age of the Conscientious Consumer

PoshTarget.jpgThe word is out: Victoria Beckham shops at Target. And she’s not the only one.

Same-store sales at both Target and Wal-Mart rose in February, compared to dramatic dips at other retailers, including Neiman Marcus where sales plunged 7.3 percent.

Not too long ago, this kind of trading down would have been unthinkable for many upscale consumers. (“Oh, did you hear about John and Mary. I hear they shop at Wal-Mart. How terrible.”)

But don’t be surprised if that changes. Today’s “green” ethos may provide a cloak for the transformation. Cutting back needn’t be a scarlet letter. It can be a flag that says we’re reducing wastefulness and simplifying our lives.

Think of it as the rise of conscientious consumption. And Wal-Mart may be the biggest beneficiary, as the company continues to launch progressive initiatives—like this unfiltered employee blog—that have begun to soften the stigma of shopping at the big-box behemoth.

Maybe Wal-Mart should hire J. Lo to go shopping for eco-friendly diapers there. It could spur a whole new wave of celebrity photo ops.

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