Playboy opens first European store in London

LONDON, Sept 21, 2007 (AFP) – Playboy continued its evolution from adult magazine to international merchandising brand by opening its first store in Europe Friday at the heart of London’s shopping district. Playboy has a long history of doing business in the British capital. In 1966, it opened its first club and casino on London’s upmarket Park Lane, which was nicknamed the “Hutch on the Park”. The club closed in 1982. But customers expecting an erotic extravaganza of shop assistants parading in Playboy’s trademark bunny ears, bow ties and not much else might be disappointed — the store’s focus is fashion and homewares, not titillation.

Its main target audience is women rather than men, with 70 percent of products aimed at female shoppers, although the store’s opening has already provoked fury from some feminists.

“I think that the idea of the Playboy lifestyle isn’t gender-specific anymore and I think that women consider themselves Playboys as well,” company spokeswoman Lisa Hagendorf told AFP.

“When we talk about Playboy, we talk about the good life… it’s about the glamour and the sexiness and the sophistication.”

The shop, which is spread across three storeys on Oxford Street, stock