They keep throwing the numbers around–the average woman, according to any number of sources from any number of surveys, is anywhere from a size 12 to a size 14 or 16 and up. They keep saying that plus-size fashion is the most under-represented and under-served segment of the retail market. They keep saying that plus-size women deserve a rainbow of clothing options and sizes.
And you know, I don’t know much about fashion, or fashion retailing, or retailing in general, but that sounds pretty reasonable to me. Rational, well-considered, right. And yet, somehow, all that wisdom and rationality never seems to translate into action, and retailers–Old Navy in particular comes to mind–keep dropping their larger sizes or shuffling them off to the internet. Ann Taylor’s the newest of the bunch. They’re dropping their size 16s from all their retail stores, though they’ll still offer them on the internet.
When stores do this, their rationale always seems to be that the demand isn’t there for plus-size clothing (ha! ha!), and that women aren’t buying them (ha!). But women aren’t buying much in the way of Ann Taylor anyway–sales have been declining, and they reported some spectacular losses last year. Somehow, though, I don’t think dropping their larger sizes is really going to turn their business around–and it’s never occurred to them, apparently, that it might hurt them even more.
Posted by jenfu