Joe Fresh is on the move again and a lot of activity centers on kids’.
The brand launched children’s wear in the U.S. this week and is considering creating a separate kids’ chain, which would most likely appear first overseas.
The kids’ collection, which made its debut in Canada in 2007, started selling at the 510 Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan this week, as well as online in the U.S. The collection includes a full range of clothing and accessories for girls, boys, babies and toddlers, including casual apparel, outerwear, activewear and sleepwear, priced from $8 to $59.
“Kids’ has always been part of our assortment in Canada. It’s a tremendous business for us,” Mario Grauso, president of Joe Fresh, told WWD.
Regarding freestanding Joe Fresh children’s stores, “Down the road, it’s going to be a necessity,” Grauso said. “We are certainly going to do it internationally. It’s not at the top of our list for the U.S.,” Grauso said.
At the beginning of the year, Joe Fresh, which is part of Loblaws Cos. Ltd. in Canada, unveiled a string of licensing deals to open stores in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South Korea, 24 countries. Generally, the stores will sell the men’s and women’s collections, but won’t be large enough to accommodate children’s. “Internationally, you can’t get a 6,500-square-foot store. That would be the smallest space required to be in all categories,” Grauso explained. “It’s really about the space. I just don’t think we are going to get the space we need to do [all categories] in one location,” raising the chances for a separate children’s chain.
Joe Fresh opened a 15,000-square-foot flagship at 501 Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street in March 2012 and held off on merchandising the kids’ products there, but not because of space. “It was a matter of building up the team to manage all of this growth,” Grauso said. “Now I have enough merchants and people to control retail to be able to roll things out.” Kids’ occupies less than 2,000 square feet at the flagship, Grauso said.
In addition, with only six stores operating in the U.S., all in Manhattan, “We are about to start looking for more,” Grauso said. “We had our hands full with our international development,” suspending efforts at further U.S. expansion. Even sooner, Joe Fresh will launch e-commerce in the U.S. later this month.
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