Will Neiman Marcus find gold with its women’s plus-size pilot?
Luxury department store operator Neiman Marcus has announced that it will pilot a test of plus-size women’s clothing in five of its Last Call outlet stores beginning on Feb. 18. The pilot program follows two years in which the chain has successfully sold larger sizes to its upscale clientele online.
In announcing the decision to test plus-sizes in the Last Call stores, Neiman Marcus pointed to familiar statistics around the opportunity. Over 65 percent of women wear plus-sized clothing, and the average woman wears a size 14.
In interviews with The Dallas Morning News and Women’s Wear Daily, Frank Crisci, vice president of merchandising at Last Call, said the 29-store outlet chain has been asked by customers to carry sizes designed for their body types.
The in-store shops, called “Churvy Chic,” will feature a wide variety of clothing, including activewear, day and evening dresses, jeans and pants, sweaters and tops. About 20 percent of the items sold in the shops will be exclusive to Last Call.
“We believe this has legs and that we’ll be rolling it out to all Last Call stores,” Mr. Crisci told The Dallas Morning News. “Putting the brands all together not only makes a statement, but it’s a competitive advantage for us to have them all together in one place for the customer.”
While Nieman Marcus is establishing a separate department for its plus-size clothing, other retailers such as Meijer have chosen to integrate larger sizes into the overall mix. A 2015 survey by ModCloth found that women prefer shopping in stores by types of clothing rather than by size.
Neiman Marcus is a late-comer to the plus-size market in department stores. Nordstrom, as the Morning News reports, has departments for larger sizes in all but 20 of its full-line stores. It also stocks plus sizes in 189 of its 215 Rack locations.
- Neiman Marcus to Trial Plus-size Departments at Last Call – Women’s Wear Daily
- Neiman Marcus Last Call trying out plus-size women’s department – The Dallas Morning News
- Will integrating plus-size clothing boost Meijer’s apparel sales? – RetailWire
- Will Penney find its sweet spot in a plus-size brand? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your analysis of the approach Neiman Marcus is taking to the women’s plus-size clothing market? Do you expect the chain to expand the “Curvy Chic” concept beyond Last Call to its full line stores?