CHICAGO, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Retail experts say it was natural for U.S. clothing stores that cater to teenagers to eventually start setting their sights on the pre-teen market.
"It was a natural evolution for young college, teenage brands," Eli Portnoy, a retail brands specialist, tells the Chicago Tribune.
"Why not go after them younger and get them hooked into our brands?" Portnoy said.
Maria Bailey, who runs a marketing firm, said "These larger companies realize it's predominantly an untapped market."
Several well-known stores traditionally the territory of teenagers are reaching out to the younger set, including Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters and Forever 21, which this year kicked off a line of clothes for kids age 6 through 14.
Some warned the move could backfire if a self-conscious 16-year-old finds their baby brother or sister is decked out in the same style.
Others are concerned the style that fits a teenager's lifestyle may not be appropriate for a younger audience. "All they're doing is making miniature grown-up clothes," complained one mother, Dorrian Dash, while shopping for clothes for her 5-year-old daughter in Chicago recently.