UK-based maternity wear and baby clothing retailer opens in Westport
WESTPORT — Amidst a slew of store closings in town, a new children’s retailer from across the pond has taken up shop in Westport.
JoJo Maman Bébé, a United Kingdom-based maternity clothes, baby, kids and nursery products retailer opened its first United States location in Westport April 20 at 275 Post Road East. Bébé has 90 stores in the U.K. and plans to open its second U.S. shop, in Greenwich, later this spring.
“We have a loyal customer base in the area already who order through our website, and Laura Tenison, MBE, founder of Jojo, spent time pounding the pavement and getting to know customers in the area before deciding this was the perfect spot for Jojo’s first American boutique,” Alice Treharne, Bebe’s public relations and communications manager, said.
The wave of recent retail-chain store closings in Westport, among them Ann Taylor, Nike, and Allen Edmonds later this summer, does not scare Bébé, Treharne said.
“There’s not replacement for the ‘old-fashioned values’ and trustworthiness associated with independent, mom-and-pop retailers,” Treharne said, adding the Westport store offers amenities such as a diaper change station, nursing area, and children’s coloring corner in addition to a maternity section where expectant mothers can try on maternity wear and take advantage of free maternity, nursing, and other ‘what to buy’ advice from the store’s employees.
“I’m not arrogant enough to think what works in the U.K will work in the U.S., or what will work in the city will work in the suburbs, so I need to talk to the locals. We open each store as if it’s the only and most important one,” Tenison, Bébé’s founder, said. Similar to the model for her U.K. stores, Tenison said she’s sought to open stores in the U.S. away from large shopping malls and instead in local high streets in order to increase foot traffic and drive sales in nearby stores.
Bébé’s strategy of opening in towns that seemed to be losing economic momentum has been successful Tenison said, and added, “I’m confident we can play a small part in regenerating local high streets in the states.”
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