Robust sales in plus-size apparel sector
Publish Date: July 19, 2014
The big are buying more — much to the delight of apparel chains that serve plus-size consumers. Clothing sales for larger women (generally, size 18 and up in the U.S.) grew by 5 percent for the year ended in April, according to market research firm NPD Group, to some $17.5 billion, up from $16.7 billion a year before. Most plus-size sales channels saw growth during that period — namely, e-commerce, off-price retailers, department stores, specialty stores and national chains, according to Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry analyst. Spanish retailer Mango recently announced plans to expand its Violeta by Mango plus-size line to 100 of its U.S. stores this year and is looking at opening stand-alone stores for that brand; the company is anticipating sales volume of some $67.6 million this year under that banner. E-commerce channels and department stores in particular have seen plus-size sales growth over the past two years — by 31 percent and 7 percent, respectively, Cohen says. “The plus-sized market segment is seeing light at the end of the tunnel after being hit particularly hard by the recession,” he said. “With that, retailers and designers are now viewing this area as a growth opportunity, and today there are indeed more plus-sized choices in stores.” Consumers between 55 and 64 accounted for the largest age group in dollar terms, at some $4.2 billion, up 9 percent from a year ago. Those 65 or older came in a close second, with $4 billion in annual sales, which was also up 9 percent year on year.