Foot Locker is to launch its kids-only fascia in the UK on the back of a more resilient retail market for juniors.

Why are we talking about this now?

US sportswear giant Foot Locker is on the hunt for its first UK stores for its kids’ fascia, it is understood. There are 300 Kids Foot Locker stores in the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Why is Foot Locker bringing its kids’ fascia to the UK?

Judging by population data, there has never been a better time to launch a kids’ fascia. The UK is in the midst of a baby boom. There were 813,200 births in Britain in the year to June 30, 2012, the highest level since 1972.

Anusha Couttigane, fashion consultant at Conlumino, says Foot Locker has the potential to carve out a significant business in the growing kids’ market by opening standalone stores.

Couttigane says there may be a particular opportunity for Foot Locker: “London is a great place to start, as consumerism in the capital still benefits from the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics. In light of this, Kids Foot Locker would be entering a consumer market that has been heavily influenced by sports culture over the last year.”

What other retailers are doing it?

Foot Locker is following in the footsteps of Schuh, which introduced its kids-only format last year.

Other high street retailers that have tested kids-only stores in the UK include Zara, Gap and Monsoon.

WHSmith opened its first kids-focused store Zoodle, which sells children’s books and toys, at Manchester Airport earlier this year.

How buoyant is the kidswear market?

Kidswear has proved resilient in the downturn compared with womenswear and menswear, as parents prioritise spending on their children, according to Verdict senior analyst Honor Westnedge.

However, competition is stiff, and mid-market retailers are investing heavily to ensure they can compete with premium brands on quality and durability while keeping prices low, says Westnedge.

Why open a standalone fascia?

One of the biggest attractions is increased visibility on the high street and therefore heavier footfall. Having a standalone operation tells consumers that the retailer is serious about its children’s offer, and helps differentiate in the crowded market.

However, costs associated with a standalone store and the marketing needed to promote it are heavy, compared with simply dedicating an area in a store to kids.