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For Cost-Conscious, No Dearth of Outlets

April 02, 1993|CINDY LaFAVRE YORKS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Parents willing to spend top dollar for a child's wardrobe won't have much trouble finding places to shop. Cost-conscious parents, however, can find fashionable clothing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg at the following stores:

* For Kids Only: At the stores in Reseda and Los Angeles, shoppers will find discount European and American clothing for boys and girls at 30% to 60% off in sizes 0 to 14. Some preteen girls' and preteen boys' clothing, as well as shoes, are also featured. 746 Fairfax Ave., L.A. (213) 650-4885; 19367 Victory Blvd., Reseda, (818) 708-9543.

* Kids Mart: Discounts on regularly priced clothing at this store are available daily. To receive a 10% discount on regular and even sales merchandise every day, parents must have a preferred customer card. The store charges an annual fee of $6. The merchandise runs the gamut from dressy to casual. Name brands and value abound. There are togs by Health Tex, Cherokee and Mickey for Kids. A good deal for boys recently was spotted in the store: Bugle Boy solid-color tank tops are $7.99. Girls will find a number of reasonably priced hair accessories starting at $1.99, and an assortment of fruit-decoration-enhanced rubber sandals are $4.99. Call (800) SMART KIDS for the nearest location.

* Mervyn's: Though Mervyn's isn't technically a discount store, many parents view it as such because the already reasonably priced clothes inevitably go on sale. And when they do, they're practically a steal at 25% to 30% off.

Boys will find casual sportswear from names they love--Dockers, Bugle Boy, Levis and Gekko. Girls have more options, including casual T-shirts and leggings, sportswear by OshKosh and dressy frocks with matching hats. Infant selections here are some of the best. The Sprockets collection features a variety of colorful cotton togs in bright shades of lemon, grape, green, fuchsia and turquoise at prices starting at $2.99 for a stretchy skull cap. For a store near you, call (800)-MERVYNS.

* Target: It's hard to imagine a store selling new clothing at lower prices than Target. Of late, the merchandise seems to be getting a little more, shall we say, Gap-ish? Henley-style button-front tops for girls are $5.99 and come in bright and pastel shades. Girls' shorts are just $5.99. Boys' tank tops are $2.99, and T-shirts in bright solid colors are $3.99 each. Best of all, time-strapped parents can pick up nonperishable grocery and household items during the pit stop, and even splurge on fresh-baked cookies to appease kids weary of trying on clothes.

* T.J. MAXX: Like any other off-price store, T.J. Maxx is a hit-and-miss kind of place. But most parents who shop there find they usually hit the jackpot when it comes to kids' clothes. On a recent trip to the Anaheim Hills store, we found a large selection of play and dress clothing for infants, toddlers and school-age kids. Buster Brown, Levi's and Bugle Boy sportswear were in ample supply, with an average savings of 50%. A two-piece dress ensemble with a lively watercolor printed skirt and matching headband is $7.99, with a "compare at" price of $24 on the ticket. A Baby Beluga shortie romper with a strawberry motif and hood is $8, with a comparable price of $12. Casual clothes are even less. A clearance rack featured a variety of denim jackets and overalls for $11 and $12, with comparable prices of $22 and $25. With savings like that, a stop into Chuck E Cheese afterward doesn't seem quite so extravagant.

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