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Scary Good Opportunities

When autumn leaves begin to fall, sales often rise.

When autumn leaves begin to fall, sales often rise. Back to school, back to reality and Halloween combine for the usual lift. With regards to the latter, the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts a record $9.1 billion in spooky-related spending this year, which now ranks as America’s second biggest consumer-spending holiday behind Christmas. What that means for our industry is opportunity—a big one.

Halloween has become an extended catchall of character-themed garments, mini-me collections, special accessories and traditional costuming. It’s no longer just a day of dressing up for a night of trick-or-treating; we’re talking at least a full month of Halloween-related activities, be it parties, town parades, haunted hayrides, fall festivals and, of course, trick-or-treating. It doesn’t hurt that adults are just as into donning costumes as kids these days. Indeed, the interest in costume play (a.k.a. cosplay) has grown from a Japanese anime niche to a year-round business that generates nearly $5 billion for local economies that host Comic Con events.

The opportunity for childrenswear retailers to grab a share of this growing (pumpkin) pie is there for the taking. First of all, many Halloween pop-up shops focus on adult-themed costumes. Therefore, being an age-appropriate kids costume destination should be a welcome relief for parents who prefer that their kids not dress up as a sexy something or glorified serial killer. Secondly, with dressing up becoming a year-round activity, retailers can dedicate an allotted space for costumes and develop a following. Pop-ups, on the other hand, are just that: here today, gone tomorrow. And, in the case of many Halloween versions, the pop-ups are often beyond bare bones (i.e. scary conditions) and offer no location consistency from one year to the next. Third, childrenswear retailers have established relationships to maximize costume sales. What time-pressed parent isn’t receptive to a one-stop shopping convenience?

So why not throw an in-store costume party or partner with area retailers for a Halloween parade? And be sure to encourage kids to send photos of them in your costumes so you can post them on your social media feeds. There could even be “best costume” contests, where prizes include store gift certificates. Yes, opportunities abound. 

Costume sales are not the only industry opportunity, to be sure. The global market for childrenswear is forecasted to increase about 10 percent to $321.6 billion by 2024, according to a study by Global Industry Analysts. Baby products and gear are also on healthy growth tracks, proving that safety and innovation never go out of style. (Be sure to check out our review of the latest baby gear trends on p. 32). Another industry standby, denim, is also presenting renewed opportunity. Bullied by athleisure the past few seasons, America’s first fabric is on the rebound, thanks to innovative textiles and fresh styling. Our Trend Watch story (p. 18) showcases a plethora of soft, easy-to-wear denim styles.

Our entire issue, in fact, is filled with opportunities. Innovative new products, the latest fashions, market insights from leading industry figures and, of course, our own expert analysis can be found throughout our pages. That’s our mission with every issue: to showcase the latest and greatest opportunities for succeeding in the childrenswear and juvenile products industries. We take great pride in being a trusted resource for this platform, which is one we have been delivering  on for more than a century. When it comes to covering our beloved industry, the Earnshaw’s brand is like Gerber: trusted, reliable and respected. On that note, be sure to read this month’s Q&A (p. 14) with Gary Simmons, president and CEO of Gerber Childrenswear, for his insights on how the iconic brand is being positioned for major growth.

I hope you enjoy the issue, and Happy Halloween!

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