Holiday Central

Trawling The Mall

Dawn S. Kissi

An important niche in the retail industry, teens are expected to top the $159 billion they spent last year last year, so CNBC’s Julia Boorstin tagged along with a group of girls in Los Angeles to discover what’s hip, hot and on many a wish list.

This fashion-conscious group favored American-Eagle Outfitters because it offers good fit, casual look and, of course, trendy status. The company has been a “hot-stock” in recent years, while the Gap , once a cultural favorite, was deemed “older looking” and not really “cool”, a term which happens to describe its stock in recent years.

Teens’ brand senses are keen, and influence their buying decisions, which in turn can influence stocks. One teen compared the newly released Microsoft Zune to Apple’s iPod mini saying “everyone’s into it”, and “it can’t really compete with the iPod.”

This holiday season, retailers are hoping to catch trend-hungry teens seeking the latest gadgets and styles. Teenagers are not the biggest earners, but they are among the most influential shoppers.