LONDON — London kids are getting a taste for luxury.
In the last few months, two new luxury e-tailers, AlexandAlexa.com and LittleFashionGallery.com, have launched upscale online boutiques, while Harrods has revamped its children's wear department, adding a space devoted entirely to international designer diffusion ranges. The market is clearly having a growth spurt.
"The children's wear business has completely changed here over the last six years, from brands you had never heard of to every designer adult label licensing children's collections. It's become huge," said Gillian Lee, children's wear buyer at Harrods.
In May, the store launched a 2,000-square-foot space for international designer children's brands, housing collections by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Armani and Dior against a new-look, sophisticated minimalist interior.
"The department has totally exceeded our expectations in terms of the business. We are talking about big sums of money," said Lee, adding that already popular pieces, such as the beige cutout dress from the newly launched Chloé children's range, had waiting lists.
"It's really fueled by the fact that the brands are already big brands anyway. They are lifestyles, and so buying the children's wear is like buying into another part of that," said Lee.
Online, it's a similar story.
"Online shopping is forecast to grow 10 times more than the high street this year," said Alex Theophamous, founder and director of upscale retailer AlexandAlexa.com, based here and launched last month.
"The U.K. is Europe's biggest online shopping market. If you look at the women's market, the growth is all coming from online operators. These people all have children. It makes sense that if you are buying Ralph Lauren's clothing, you will want your children to wear it also," he said. "Another factor is that the women in the U.K. are having children much later, and so have a higher income when they do so. They have the money to spend."
Theophamous predicted the Web site's annual turnover within five years will be 5 million pounds, or $10 million at current exchange, annually. Next year, he said the brand would look at expansion to Russia, the U.S. and the Middle East.
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