Janie & Jack seeks growth overseas and online; As the premium children’s brand picks up where Gap Inc. left off, and with business brisk despite the pandemic, it’s also adding apparel for tweens

April 6, 2021 – Retail Dive – In general, sales of apparel have been decimated during the pandemic, hurting specialty retailers and department stores alike. Consumers saved their shrunken clothing budgets for activewear, outdoor gear and athleisure, and many retailers pivoted to meet that demand.

That affected children’s apparel as well, according to research from IBIS World, which sees declines continuing for a few more years, if slowing down from the steeper decreases of last year. But Janie and Jack, an upscale children’s clothing brand that just spent a fleeting two years under Gap Inc.’s umbrella, saw only “subtle” changes in demand and is doing fine, says its new president, Shelly Walsh.

“In this pandemic, we didn’t really see a change in buying habits,” Walsh said by video conference. “So I think that’s a really important part about our brand specifically, is that she still wants to dress her child well and put together and polished and show them off. We’re still selling Easter, holiday, family dressing and swim — we are selling all of it just like we always have. We did not really have to shift strategy and move into more casual and knit loungewear at all.”

Walsh’s title and position are new, but she represents continuity at the brand. She has managed Janie and Jack, an upscale sub-brand developed by Gymboree, as general manager since 2015, and before then as vice president of merchandising. When it was snapped up for $35 million by Gap Inc. during Gymboree’s 2019 bankruptcy, she stuck around, so she’s likely privy to what some of Gap Inc.’s plans may have been. Plus, Walsh is a Gap Inc. alum, having spent six years there in women’s, maternity and children’s before jumping to Gymboree to lead Janie and Jack in 2013.

Read more at Retail Dive.