76.7 F
San Fernando
Saturday, Jun 10, 2023

Disney Baby Store Now Open at Glendale Center

Seeing an opportunity in the lucrative baby and infant apparel market, The Walt Disney Co. has opened an exclusive new store in Glendale that was designed with input from new mothers. The Disney Baby store at the Americana at Brand will be the one and only such store in the nation, with about 90 percent of its products exclusive to its shelves and website. The 1,200-square-foot-store opened to the public Sept. 8 with free Mickey Mouse hats for the first 100 babies and photo opportunities with Winnie the Pooh and other characters from the Hundred Acre Woods for everyone else. Industry analysts say baby and infant apparel is poised for a rebound following the long recession, making it attractive to a new entrant like Disney. The company began offering its baby clothing line in 2011 through retail partners Walmart and Target, among others. In addition to the new store and online presence, Disney also will expand its baby product offerings through its own Disney Stores, said Paul Gainer, executive vice president of Disney Stores. “Disney is a brand that moms trust and we saw a void of high quality product in the category,” Gainer said. “That was an opportunity to be able to merge the brand and high quality together.” Having just a single store is an interesting concept, but one that’s understandable in an economy where brick and mortar stores can still be risky, said Nikoleta Panteva, a senior analyst who follows the infant apparel market for Santa Monica-based market research firm IBISWorld. “What they may be trying to do is keep the supply low to create a demand for their products,” Panteva said. A recent research report by IBISWorld projected children’s & infants’ clothing stores will generate about $10 billion in revenue this year. The outlook is for 2.3 percent annual growth in sales between 2012 and 2017. The Disney retail stores come under the consumer products division of the Burbank-based entertainment and media conglomerate. While revenue figures for the retail stores are not broken out in quarterly earnings reports, consumer products overall posted revenue increases in the first three quarters of the 2012 fiscal year when compared with the previous fiscal year. New store concept Gainer would not say how much the company invested in the Disney Baby store. Disney operates 215 Disney Stores selling product for both children and adults in the U.S. and Canada. The first Disney Store opened in the Glendale Galleria in 1987. Locating the Baby Store in Glendale was a way to honor that retail heritage, Gainer said. Caruso Affiliated, owner of the Americana, was pleased to welcome the new store to the shopping center, said CEO Rick J. Caruso. “We are always looking for innovative retail concepts to diversify our offerings and delight our properties’ guests. Disney Baby is sure to do that and we are thrilled to deliver the concept to consumers for the first-time anywhere,” Caruso said in a prepared statement. Disney spent one year developing the Disney Baby store concept, which includes custom fixtures built around what Disney calls the eight “magical” moments in the life of babies up to two years old. Disney identified those moments — feeding, playtime, bath time, and travel among them — through focus groups made up of new and expectant mothers, Gainer said. The company chose to feature Disney characters it thought would most appeal to toddlers and their parents, including Winnie the Pooh and friends, Mickey Mouse and friends, the Disney princesses and Nemo. With Halloween approaching, the store has stocked infant costumes and role-playing clothes, which will be followed by seasonal outfits and holiday gifts. “We will have a lot of freshness and newness every quarter in the store,” Gainer said. By entering the baby clothing market, Disney now competes against four main competitors — Toys ‘R’ Us, The Children’s Place, Gymboree and Dressbarn — which have collectively cornered about 68 percent of sales in the baby clothing category, according to the IBISWorld report. California has the highest number of infant and children’s clothing stores in the U.S. with 12.5 percent of the total market, the report states. “Whether it is organic clothing or local designed clothing, there tends to be more retailers out here,” Panteva said. Gainer said Disney store merchandise is higher quality than what other stores offer. “They have a market base that travels with them,” Panteva said.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Featured Articles

Related Articles