Regional department store chain Gottschalks Inc on Tuesday announced the launch of its new exclusive children's private label called GK.

The California-based operator of nearly 80 stores in West Coast states said the new line features three labels and boasts a wide selection of stylish and fun clothing for kids at affordable prices.

It Includes shorts, skirts, tops, t-shirts, in both sets and separates, plus sleepwear, socks and underwear.

President and CEO, Jim Famalette, said: "The launch of our GK line is a key component of our more aggressive pursuit of private label opportunities this year. Our private label merchandise can be tailored to fit the specific needs of Gottschalks' customers.

"Historically, these exclusive brands have differentiated our merchandise offerings from competitors and also have resulted in improved margins for the company.

"We have had considerable success with two of our other private label brands, Shaver Lake and Sarah Bentley, and look forward to a similar response to our new children's line."

He added Gottschalks continues to anticipate private label sales will grow by 15 per cent in 2003 compared to the prior year.