The birth rate in America has dipped to its lowest point in at least a century. Young couples are putting off having babies because they doubt they can afford it.
But the chances are that they still want children. Once the economy improves, the people who put off parenthood will get down to it. Mr Francese projects that in 2014 there will be 4.4m births, a record high. “That’s a lot of demand for Gymboree’s products,” he says. What’s more, the women who give birth to these post-recession babies will be better educated than any previous generation of mothers, and slightly older too. Many will earn enough to splurge on pricey accoutrements for their offspring.
And don’t forget the grandparents. America’s overall population is expected to grow by less than 1% a year for the next few years, but the number of people aged 65 to 74 will grow at a rate of 5%. Boomer grandparents will spoil their children’s children as eagerly as they once spoiled themselves.