June 9, 2006


Booming baby market helps Fla. online retailer grow (JOSEPH TARTAKOFF, 6/09/06, MiamiHerald.com)

Six years ago, Jupiter-based BabyUniverse was on the verge of going out of business.

No longer. In August, the online retailer of baby goods went public in a $19 million initial public offering. Over the last year, it has used proceeds from selling its stock to buy two rivals. And it's a candidate to land a lucrative deal selling baby products on Amazon.com. One reason for its renewed success is that the online baby gear market -- where its flagship website, BabyUniverse.com, is the No. 3 player -- is booming. The population under five is growing, along with the willingness of their relatives to spend on them, said Timothy Dowd, a senior analyst with PackagedFacts, a New York market research firm.

Retailers have noticed the phenomenon too. Sales of furniture and accessories for tots were up 5.2 percent last year to $8 billion. Over the next four years, sales are expected to jump 11.2 percent more, according to PackagedFacts.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2006 9:37 AM

Our central Florida county is projecting an increase of 23% in the school population this fall on top of big increases previous years.

Schools can't be built fast enough and require modular classrooms before the doors even open.

Posted by: erp at June 9, 2006 10:02 AM

Yet here in Seattle they are closing schools while nostalgic adults who can't be bothered to have children wail and moan over the tragedy of the closures.

According to the Seattle Times:

Seattle Public Schools enrolls 47,000 students less than half the number it had 40 years ago but operates 99 buildings, three-fourths what it had in 1965. The district hasn't closed a school since 1989.

Since most or all of these schools are elementery schools, I expect the ripples will continue to move into the higher levels and force more closures.

Posted by: Patrick H at June 9, 2006 12:04 PM

Send buses down here and pick up straglers.

Posted by: erp at June 9, 2006 1:01 PM

erp is right.
The school situation in Central Florida is in the news constantly: Teacher shortage, should the impact fees be increased, etc.
In addition to the growing population of children, it has been compounded by the Florida law that class sizes have to be smaller.
Hillsborough county is heard about all the time, but a school board member for Polk County (next door) was telling me that they are under the most incredible, all consuming stress to hire enough teachers and they have been holding fairs, as have many other counties.
I know it is true for Polk, but perhaps the whole state, that as a result of the dire situation, you can now get on a very fast track to get a teacher's certification if you have a bachelor's degree. It doesn't make one iota of difference what that degree is in.

Steve Sailer has done very good work on voting trends and how "affordable family formation" is key to Republican success.

Posted by: Emma at June 9, 2006 1:21 PM

Tell your neighbor to visit Seattle.....

Posted by: Sandy P at June 9, 2006 1:59 PM

Portland (OR) is closing schools as well. However across the Columbia in Vancouver (WA), the suburban school districts are growing as families with kids move across river to escape the closures (and the state income tax).

Posted by: TimF at June 9, 2006 2:30 PM