How Teens And Smartphones Are Killing Teen-Fashion Retailers

By Suzette Parmley
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Garrick Brown, a retail expert, says that while most retailers have been focused on millennial shopping habits, “what has been missed … is the impact of the next generation: Generation Z,” Brown says “This generation (the first to have grown up completely on smartphones) are poised to put that growth to shame.”


Mipri Haye, a high school junior, is on Instagram and Snapshot daily, showing off her latest outfits to her girlfriends.

She also shares where she got those clothes: Forever 21, H&M, and Charlotte Russe often top her list.

“I take pictures of myself trying on new things, post them, and see what my friends think,” said Haye on a recent Friday as she shopped with her mother, Capri Haye, inside Francesca’s at Cherry Hill Mall in the New Jersey portion of suburban Philadelphia.

Retail experts say such prolific use of social media by Haye and others is driving the rapid success of some teen retailers, and causing the quick demise of others. Teen brands have also been among the slowest to close their brick-and-mortar stores and grow their websites.

In the last 18 months, Aeropostale, with 800 stores, Pacific Sunwear, with nearly 600 stores, and American Apparel, with 273 stores, have all filed for bankruptcy. (An ownership group stepped up in September 2016 to buy Aeropostale for $243 million at auction; the new owners plan to reopen its 500 stores across the country this year.)

Wet Seal, a California teen-oriented brand with 171 stores, filed for Chapter 11 last month. It specialized in selling clothing and accessories to young women.

Others, such as Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters, are struggling. On a recent Friday at Cherry Hill Mall, neither store attracted much foot traffic from 7 to the 9:30 p.m. closing.

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