Magazine article Marketing

Amanda Aldridge on Retail: Everyone's Clamouring for Slice of Childrenswear

Magazine article Marketing

Amanda Aldridge on Retail: Everyone's Clamouring for Slice of Childrenswear

Article excerpt

Not that I need an excuse to go shopping, but having another child recently has given me a good reason to visit the high street and do a bit of clothes shopping for all three of my kids.

As well as providing some retail therapy, it highlighted just how well mothers are catered for when buying clothes for their children. Today's retail environment provides the full gamut of options: they can be kitted out top-to-toe in low-priced supermarket ranges or draped in big-money designer outfits. Such is the value of the childrenswear market - about pounds 4.3bn - that many retailers want a piece of the action. They have realised there is only one thing parents like spending money on more than themselves and that is their offspring.

Evidence of the growth in interest came this month when New Look announced a tie-up with kidswear specialist Adams to trial clothing in five of its high-street stores.

Likewise, Boots has added upmarket brand OshKosh B'Gosh to its childrenswear, alongside its lower-priced Essentials range and mid-market line - also from Adams. H&M is proving a tough act with its competitively priced offering, and let's not forget the supermarkets, which have taken a big chunk of the back-to-school market.

At the other end of the spectrum, there has been the emergence of kidswear from aspirational brands such as Ted Baker and French Connection. They have recognised that customers have kids and such expansion opens up another revenue stream.

I tend not to deck out my children in overtly branded goods, but many people do just that. They are not confined to one demographic; witness Caroline Aherne's character, Denise, in The Royle Family kitting out her son, baby David, in logo-laden sportswear, and the celebrities in Hello! and OK! magazines with their broods clad in designer labels.

With the growing number of retailers plying their trade in this part of the market, it is not easy to stake a claim. There is evidence that, as in the adult market, those in the middle ground are getting squeezed. But there are distinct differences between the two markets. Childrenswear has built-in buoyancy, because when times are hard, parents are unlikely to let it affect clothes purchases for their kids, but will reduce spending on their own wardrobes. …

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