More On Retailing To Teenagers

There was an interesting article by Eric Wilson in yesterday’s New York Times about retailers who target teenage shoppers. The full citation can be found at the end of this post.

Wilson notes that a recent study by the investment bank Piper Jaffray reported a 14% decline in spending by teenagers that was a “direct reflection of the economy.” Cost has become a much more important factor in teenager purchasing decisions.

Most importantly, Wilson notes that “as teenagers’ priorities rapidly shift away from brands they now perceive as too expensive, the pecking order of mall stores has changed.” Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, has held its prices during the current recession and consequently has had a significant decline in sales.

But, price is not everything., Hot Topic has increased its sales steadily during the recession largely because it sells licensed products tied to the “Twilight” vampire series. According to Betsy McLaughlin, the chain’s CEO: “There’s just so much retail out there. I think the people who will win are the ones who provide something different. It’s not just a price war.”

See: Eric Wilson, “Losing Its Cool at the Mall,” The New York Times, April 23, 2009, sec. Fashion & Style, Article.