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Critical Shopping

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Last week's Critical Shopper was set in San Francisco; this week, the column ventures to Paris for a look at Merci. The store, which writer David Colman's friend dubs "Colette for grown-ups,” carries trendy but classic clothing lines (Paul Smith, Paul & Joe, Steven Alan) and a huge range of housewares, from high-design to vintage. Merci considers itself a concept shop, but it takes a while for a jetlagged Colman to determine the concept. Finally he discovers the store's well-kept secret: It's owned by the people who created expensive childrens' line Bonpoint, and 100% of the profits go to a charity in Madagascar, where Bonpoint has factories. "We don’t want people to buy because it’s a charity thing," explains the owner. As secrets go, though, that's a pretty good one. [NYT]