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Francesca’s Takes on Tweens With New Line and New App

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After teasing plans to grab a younger customer base, Francesca’s is finally making those ambitions a reality.

On Tuesday, the women’s fashion and accessories retailer, newly out of bankruptcy and under new ownership, debuted Franki by Francesca’s. The collection of items including tie-dye sweatshirts, tonal animal-print joggers, slogan T-shirts, skirts, biker shorts, rompers, jumpsuits and dresses is designed for adolescents grappling with the trials and tribulations of “living through a global pandemic, navigating remote school and maintaining friendships virtually,” the brand said.

Francesca’s also debuted its long-awaited mobile app Tuesday, which it says will help to attract young shoppers who make “fashion choices with a ​swipe and a share​.”

Newly out of bankruptcy and under new ownership, women's fashion and accessories retailer Francesca's courts a younger consumer with Franki.

“As a fashion brand we are challenging ourselves to develop an always-on reactivity to what our customers are searching for,” said Andrew Clarke, CEO of the Houston-based apparel company. “This is driving us to innovate our assortment, strengthen our mobile-first mindset and broaden our accessibility as a brand to serve all ages, body shapes and personalities.” The mall chain, he continued, is “inspired” by Gen Alpha and Gen Z consumers, and the new mobile app will meet them where they “experience so much of their lives.”

The Franki collection is available in 100 of Francesca’s 454 boutiques, in addition to its e-commerce site and newly launched apps for Android and iOS.

Newly out of bankruptcy and under new ownership, women's fashion and accessories retailer Francesca's courts a younger consumer with Franki.

The expansion into tweens comes as other retailers have similarly invested in what Francesca’s described as an “often-underserved” market. Spanish fast-fashion firm Mango debuted a collection for teens and tweens in the fall, while Old Navy dropped a line for pre-teens timed to last year’s chaotic back-to-school season. Even Justice secured a buyer after former parent Ascena Retail Group collapsed into bankruptcy, underscoring the brand’s value to (and opportunities in) the market for pre-teen fashion.

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