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Biz Insiders to Retailers: Carry More Plus Sizes, Make More Money

This seems like a no-brainer, but if retailers actually listened to their customers' demand for plus sizes, they could see an increase in profits.

Bloomberg reports that annual U.S. sales of women's plus-size apparel rose by 17 percent to $20.4 billion in 2016, from $17.4 billion in 2013. Overall apparel sales increased by 7 percent during that timeframe, according to NPD Group.

Why do retailers still resist plus-size clothing? Blame it on additional costs. Launching a plus-size line requires the retailer to purchase more fabric and hire more people to make the clothing, but it doesn't guarantee sales. Variations in shape in plus sizes offer more complications than making straight sizes. (The size charts most retailers use dates to back the the '40s. Read the articles footnotes for more info.)

Most retailers don't promote its plus sizes like they do with straight sizes. Anyone who ever bought plus size clothing at a department stores knows exactly where to find the plus size the luggage department. Or, when a retailer promotes a plus-size line, it disappears from the sales floor weeks later and becomes an online-only purchase.

Retailers Aeropostale, The Sports Authority, and Scoop NYC are shutting down due to decreasing sales. One can't help but wonder if offering plus sizes would have helped overall profits. Lane Bryant's profits increased when it launched its athletic line, a demand that Nike, Under Armour, Lululemon won't fulfill.


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