Wal-Mart chic in vogue with the Valley - East Valley Tribune: Business

Wal-Mart chic in vogue with the Valley

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Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2005 6:42 am | Updated: 9:13 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Michelle Haywood checked out the soft velvet jackets, silky camisoles and glittery tank tops at a Wal-Mart Super-Center in Tempe.

"I love it," she said. "It’s totally different. It’s what people are wearing now."

Not usually considered at the cutting edge of fashion, Wal-Mart is trying to change that image and attract shoppers who buy milk, meat and kitchen appliances at the store but hardly ever browse through the clothing racks.

The company is piloting a new clothing line, Metro 7, in the Valley and other urban markets such as Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta.

It is featured in 22 local stores — eight of them are in the East Valley.

After two weeks on the racks, the line has been dubbed a local hit, said Delia Garcia, Wal-Mart spokeswoman.

"It is selling at three times our expectations in the Phoenix area," Garcia said.

"People are crossing the aisles. We are appealing to the more fashion-minded customers who may be shopping here for groceries but not clothing. They are already here in the store."

The Metro 7 pieces are Wal-Mart cheap, but the look is Wal-Mart chic, Garcia said.

"The feel of the fabrics, the look are hipper, trendier, more New York," she said.

The clothing is priced a little higher than the average Wal-Mart merchandise, but not enough to kick it into mall-store tag comparisons.

The current crop of Metro 7 styles includes velvet jackets, gauzy tunics and sequins on nearly everything. Sequins are the latest fashion trend, Garcia said.

And there is a lot of brown. "Brown is the new black," Garcia said.

A.J. Binicki of Tempe, who "sometimes buys clothes at Wal-Mart," sees a big difference between Metro 7 clothing quality and trendiness and the typical Wal-Mart merchandise.

"It looks better, nicer," she said.

Haywood has already bought some of the sequinlined tops and pants. She’s looking forward to the new batch of merchandise, slated to hit the racks the first week of November.

Metro 7 clothing will be on and off the racks fast, regardless of whether it sells or not, Garcia said. That’s to ensure it represents the hottest trends, she said.

To let the grocery shoppers know the chic clothes are available, Wal-Mart has been scheduling in-store fashion shows, and the company will have a major spread in the November issue of Vogue.

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