Henwood said he's seeing more families with more children than in years gone by, and the latest group of parents "not only have the capacity" to buy lots of stuff for the kids, "they have a further refined taste level" that they indulge when they buy clothes and toys.
Shoppers Gerald and Joan Moch were less interested in the philosophy of shopping than the availability of goods on a recent foray through the mall.
Visiting from their home in the New York City suburb of Larchmont on a trip combining business and fun, the Mochs were hunting for gifts for their grandchildren. "We will probably go into Sesame Street," Gerald Moch said, as his wife noticed items in the window display for their grandson.
Joan Moch said she thought the prices in Disney were high, and her husband thought FAO Schwartz was crowded. Still, though, "It was a great idea to have all the children's things together," Joan Moch said.
Henwood said he has no idea if grouping the high-profile children's stores will spark a trend, but he noted that other shopping centers across the country keep close tabs on what's going on with South Coast Plaza and try to mimic its successes.
UCI's Venkatesh said if the idea of clustering stores aimed at one segment of the shopping population proves popular, the concept could spread. "I wouldn't be surprised if four or five years from now there's a segment for the elderly," he said.