• Retail Dive

Carter's expands sizes up to tweens


Dive Brief:
  • Carter's, long known as a clothing brand for babies and toddlers, has launched Carter's KID, a new product offering designed for boys and girls sizes 4 to 14.

  • The assortment includes more than 700 styles, incorporating themes like sports, emojis, unicorns, dinosaurs and gaming, as well as "positive messaging that kids can relate to," according to a press release. The collection includes active and layering pieces created to appeal to boys and girls who are starting to make their own style statements, the company said Monday.

  • The new line is available on the Carter's e-commerce site and in department stores, national chains and specialty retailers domestically and internationally, the company also said.

Dive Insight:

In the wake of the Toys R Us bankruptcy, children's apparel and toy sales are largely up for grabs, and retailers in the sector are taking advantage of the fall to try and steal more market share. The Children's Place has already launched a Bundles Baby Place line and Gymboree is also trying to make a comeback with a back-to-school rebrand. Carter's, for its part, accounted for $120 million of Toys R Us' apparel business.

Carter's most ardent fans are likely to be pleased that it will take that much longer for their children to grow out of Carter's clothing. While the company says the new sizes are geared toward kids who are beginning to make their own style choices, though, the options aren't much of a departure from the smaller items.

The brand, at least for now, isn't venturing into any new territory — hewing closely to gender-based styling and sticking to a traditional retail sales model rather than subscription services. Both could put the company at something of a disadvantage, considering the backlash among some consumers against styles (especially when it comes to messages and images on clothing) that conform to traditional notions of boy and girl clothing. Indeed, some retailers are combating that with gender-neutral clothing collections, such as Abercrombie & Fitch's first unisex children's line.

Styles in Carter's collection also follow trends already seen in many big box stores, in contrast to Target's year-old "Art Class" private label for the same demographic, which has items designed with the help of childrenthemselves. Subscription boxes, meanwhile, are an increasingly important way to lock in kids' caregivers to a brand, and could be a natural fit for Carter's, which already has so many parents turning to its large assortments for their younger children, although the company told Retail Dive it has no current plans to launch a subscription box.

Carter's competition, however, is diving headlong into subscriptions. Gap has launched subscription boxes for babies and kids pajamas, Old Navy one for older kids, Target for babies and young children through its Cat & Jack label, and Stitch Fix is also entering the market with Stitch Fix Kids.


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