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US children's wear maker looks to open 200 stores across China

By Wang Zhuoqiong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-31 08:23

US children's wear maker looks to open 200 stores across China

Consumers shop at the Carter's babies and kids store in the Valencia area of Santa Clarita, California. [Photo/Agencies]

Carter's Inc, a leading maker of children's apparel in North America, plans to open 200 stores in China by 2022, with at least 40 new outlets this year, said its executive on Thursday.

It has 12 stores and an online shop on Tmall-a platform of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Michael Casey, Carter's chairman and CEO, said during a trip to Beijing on Thursday that it is going to focus on big cities, including Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu. The company has collaborated with listed retailer Pou Sheng International (Holdings) Ltd, which manages more than 8,000 stores for international brands including Nike and Sketchers.

Carter's expects to open 10 to 15 stores in Beijing this year, Casey said.

With 152 years of history making children's apparel, the chairman said the brand is targeting mass consumers by offering affordable prices. Speaking at the launch of Carter's brand, Casey said China "is the largest and most important international market and we are excited about the growth opportunities here".

James No, country manager of Carter's China, said the timing was right for Carter's to enter the Chinese market after long-term preparations and market research. Half of the demand for Carter's e-commerce website, launched seven years ago, was from international customers, with Chinese consumers topping the rank.

"China's baby market size is about $12 billion and will be doubled to $25 billion by the year of 2025," said No.

He said Chinese consumers have grown more sophisticated and are making more informed purchases in the digital age. The company has launched Weibo and WeChat social media accounts to interact with Chinese mothers about their products.

However, Carter's is going to be thoughtful regarding how to grow, by continuously studying the market and understanding consumer's preferences, the company said.

"We have a team based in China to get closer to Chinese consumers," No said.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, said the consumption of infant and toddler apparel is massive, with a new drive propelled by the relaxation of the one-child policy in the country. But weak brand awareness and a fragmented market due to high competition makes it challenging to stand out, he said.

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