Retailer Caters to the Recently Divorced

Discussion
Jan 20, 2010

By George Anderson

Lindsay Conway, director of social services in the Presbyterian
Church in Northern Ireland, finds it “very bizarre.”

Debenhams sees it as a
social service and an opportunity to drive sales in its stores.

The “it” here
is Debenhams’ Divorce Gift List registry service, which was launched earlier
this week to help people who have ended their marriages get on with the rest
of their lives.

Peter Moore,
head of retail services at Debenhams, told the Belfast Telegraph, “With
so many couples now living together before they marry, the Wedding Gift List
concept is now regarded as more of an upgrade service, rather than stocking
up the first home with the basics.

“However,
a divorce means that one partner will be leaving the marital home and therefore
be left without any essentials in their new house.”

Among the items the recently
divorced often need include dishes, glasses, linens, towels, microwaves and toasters.

“Divorcing
can be an expensive time and registering for a Divorce Gift List means that
family and friends can help the newly separated begin their new life,” Mr.
Moore told the Telegraph.

Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium,
told CNN, “It’s
about focusing on what your customers need and want, and of course looking
for new opportunities.”

According to CNN, Debenhams had not signed anyone
up to its divorce registry as of its report yesterday.

Discussion
Questions: Do you see divorce registries such as that offered by Debenhams
in the U.K. taking off in America? Is this an untapped business opportunity
for retailers?

Join the Discussion!

15 Comments on "Retailer Caters to the Recently Divorced"

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Marc Gordon
Guest
Marc Gordon
7 years 10 months ago

Regardless of the long-term success of this service, the fact that we’re all talking and writing about it means it did accomplish the primary goal of creating awareness.

Now the real question is whether you should consult with one of the former spouses to as to what to get the other spouse. After all, who would know them better?

David Livingston
Guest
7 years 10 months ago

To me this seems to be in poor taste. While well intentioned, it’s like poking fun at a very sad event in someone’s life.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
7 years 10 months ago

I hope this does not take off. I would rather see retailers that promote marriage, family, and ways to make marriages stronger.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
7 years 10 months ago

What really surprises me about this is that it started anywhere other than the US, home of the gift registry.

I do agree that it is in pretty poor taste but possibly with a different name that doesn’t specifically mention the D word, it might be more successful. Not all couples who break up are divorcing and lots of single people setting up home for the first time also need basics. I’m sure there is a catchier name that would cover them all.

Liz Crawford
Guest
7 years 10 months ago
Divorce parties have long been popular here in the US. But these are private affairs among friends, and as far as I know, not affiliated with retailers. As a practical matter, divorce is a lifestage event that is a real opportunity for retailers–from sellers of housewares to clothing. There may be more subtle ways to take advantage of this turning point in a person’s life. Tone and manner is everything. I’ve read about long-time single people who have had a party with a registry for themselves. These folks came to the conclusion that they were confirmed bachelors and decided they… Read more »
Aaron Spann
Guest
Aaron Spann
7 years 10 months ago
What a great idea. Honestly, the technology used to support gift registries is probably some of the most under-used technology in the store. Look–no one is forcing people to create a “Divorce Registry” so if they choose to do so then why should anyone else care? There’s really no bad taste here. In years past when I worked for Williams-Sonoma I saw many newly-single men walk into the store with a lost look on their face. Store clerks in that environment can usually pick them out pretty easily. These men almost always needed a road map for life in a… Read more »
Roger Saunders
Guest
7 years 10 months ago
Happily married for 36 years on this end, so I’m no expert on divorce. And, we can’t seem to agree upon what percentage of the population is likely to go through a divorce, given the current trends–but let’s call it 40%+. I have my share of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc, who have split. It’s a painful time for most, and seldom have I seen “upbeat” people during these stages. While a large portion of the population may go through a divorce, the vast majority of people move through the phase, and end up in another “segment” of the population. Retailers… Read more »
Mel Kleiman
Guest
7 years 10 months ago

This is a major lifestyle event and many people are happier when the divorce is finalized than they were when they got married. So why not create a Divorce Registry? It is not a point of endorsing a certain lifestyle it is a point of helping someone to help their friends.

James Tenser
Guest
7 years 10 months ago
I was fascinated by this story when I saw it air a couple days ago. While a divorce is normally nothing to celebrate, I must affirm that exiting a toxic marriage is not a purely negative event. Debenhams’ innovative concept may also tap into a practical need–the divorced partner who is leaving the marital home typically brings a minimum of personal possessions along. Basic tools for living–kitchenware, bedsheets, furniture, small appliances, lava lamps–often need to be acquired. This at a time when many divorcing people are financially strapped and feeling a bit ashamed. It’s been a few years, but I… Read more »
Jonathan Marek
Guest
7 years 10 months ago

Why even bother with the occasion? Should we just start “I’m Feeling Bad and Demand People Buy Me Stuff” registry? Isn’t that where this is headed? I can just imagine Miss Manners’s response now….

Adam Drake
Guest
Adam Drake
7 years 10 months ago
I don’t disparage any retailer for trying things as long as the investment risk is well balanced. They may learn a lot from this; providing value beyond the original idea if the divorce registry doesn’t work. That said, I am not at all surprised no one has signed up. The simple fact is that divorce (in my opinion/experience) is not a gifting situation. I give them credit for identifying a customer need but I don’t believe the registry adequately addresses that need. Could they have a divorce consultation service or at least a buying list (insert a dozen better ideas… Read more »
Carol Spieckerman
Guest
7 years 10 months ago

Why the heck not? If it motivates purchases, any energy is good energy…and divorces arguably create more energy than marriages. Ever helped a friend through a divorce that you knew was for the best and long overdue? What better way to support the decision and the promise of a new life chapter? Also, by setting up a registry, the divorcee is giving friends and family permission to step off of the eggshells.

Mark Burr
Guest
7 years 10 months ago
Certainly it shows that there are few boundaries left on any matter. So why not? Better stated–why? I am not surprised. There seems to be nothing limiting the sense of entitlement. Especially to what can be expected from family and friends–right? So what if they wore the ugly dress. No biggie that they rented a tux when you got yours free because they paid for theirs. All those gifts, dishes, linens, appliances, etc, they gave for the wedding are all long forgotten aren’t they? All the planning they helped with was owed. Giving up a great summer day to eat… Read more »
Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
7 years 10 months ago

Wow, no one signed up yet? I’m in shock! Divorce is such a wonderful thing that should be celebrated with gifts! Cause you know, when I’m going to break up my home and screw up my kids, it’s important to make sure they have a new toaster.

Brian Anderson
Guest
Brian Anderson
7 years 10 months ago

I take my professional hat off to answer this question. My wife Tammy and I have a strong passion for marriage. Second marriage for both, seven years ago we about split; Thank God we took a look in the mirror before we did. We have spent the last 6+ years walking along side couples that want to restore there marriage. That said, as an e-commence site it has potential, as in the US we have the highest divorce rate of other countries.

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