Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Markets for Teen Retailers

The Wall Street Journal reports today on the attempts by various teen retailers, such as American Eagle, to develop retail store brands aimed at younger children. The article points out that several teen retailers have stumbled in their attempts at broadening their reach to an adult demographic. Thus, they are now turning to the children's market.

I don't know whether these efforts will succeed, but I do find the approach taken by American Eagle to be quite intriguing. The firm has branded its children's unit as 77kids (1977 is the year in which the firm began). What's most interesting is how American Eagle has experimented with the concept before opening retail stores. First, the company has spent 18 months marketing the 77kids line via its online store. Secondly, it also used a pop-up store in the Pittsburgh market to test out the 77kids concept. These low cost, low risk experiments have presumably enabled American Eagle to learn a great deal before sinking a substantial investment into 77kids retail stores. I think using online and pop-up sales as a means of experimentation does seem like a very desirable and fruitful approach, one surely to be used more often by other retailers as they try to minimize the risk of major new expansions in their brick and mortar locations.

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