Will integrating plus-size clothing boost Meijer’s apparel sales?
It’s well known within fashion circles that plus-size clothing is the fastest growing segment of the business. In the past, the standard retail practice was for stores — if they sold plus-sizes at all — was to display these items on separate racks from smaller sizes. The thinking was to make it easier for women who wore larger sizes to find clothing that fit. It also helped the retailer by separating higher priced plus-sizes — vendors typically charge more for larger sizes — from the rest of their inventory.
There is only one problem with this practice — consumers don’t like it. That’s why Meijer is integrating its plus-sizes into the same racks as all the others sold in its women’s clothing departments.
The chain, after a test in 15 stores, is expanding the concept to all 230 stores it operates by early next year.
“We really felt all customers should have the exact same experience at Meijer,” said Annette Repasch, Meijer’s vice president of softlines, told The Wall Street Journal. “Not only by style, but by price and by location.”
The Journal article points out that Meijer will be taking an unspecified hit by keeping plus-size prices in line with smaller sizes. The goal is to achieve enough of a jump in volume to make up for any shortcoming on the penny profit side. Management is also counting on reduced floor space costs to serve as an offset.
Last year, Modcloth conducted a survey and found that nearly 65 percent of its shoppers wanted plus-sizes integrated in the same section as other sizes.
“Women prefer to shop by types of clothing, not types of bodies,” ModCloth co-founder Susan Koger told MarketWatch at the time.
- To Lure Plus-Size Shoppers, One Retailer Will Scrap Plus-Size Department – The Wall Street Journal
- Retailers see minuses in plus-size sections – RetailWire
- ModCloth says 60% of plus-size women are embarrassed to shop separately – MarketWatch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do you think retailers have been slow to integrate all women’s clothing sizes into one set? Do you approve of Meijer’s plan to charge the same price for women’s clothing regardless of size?