Struggling mainstream retailers can no longer afford to ignore the rapidly growing, potentially $24 billion plus-size market — especially Kmart, whose corporate owner recently announced that “substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue,” per The New York Times.
As part of the retail giant’s effort to stay afloat/in line with its more hip competitors (Target, with its size-inclusive, buzzy designer collabs; Walmart, which recently acquired ModCloth), Kmart is now offering extended sizes in all of its women’s apparel, intimates and swimwear lines. It’s also ditching the highly debated term “plus-size” for good.
As far as Kmart is concerned, “fabulous” is the new “plus.” The mega-retailer is in the midst of rolling out #rebranded “fabulously sized” sections across its 400-plus stores. These “fabulous” areas will house the extended size merchandise the chain’s older female customers seek (from signature Kmart brands like Basic Editions and Jaclyn Smith).
According to the company’s research, younger “fabulously sized” Kmart shoppers prefer their clothing unsegregated (go figure). Thus, in the brand shops of millennial-leaning lines like Attention, Joe Boxer, active and swim, extended sizes will be mixed in with regular sizes. Rack toppers that read “fabulously sized” will help guide younger shoppers to the integrated offerings.
Kmart is all about giving the people what they want — and capitalizing on trends. “When we reached out to our members on social media, they told us we needed to have a better assortment and that we should we call it something different. They absolutely love this whole mantra of ‘Fabulously Sized,’” Kelly Cook, Kmart’s chief marketing officer, told WWD.
“This decision was also heavily influenced by the fact that there’s a solid trend on the market around diversity promotion and body positivity,” added Cook. For the record, “fabulously sized” women make up an estimated 22 percent of the company’s sales. Plus, according to Kmart’s research, they’re pretty loyal customers: most shop at the chain around 11 times a year. It follows that, in the short time since the company’s size expansion program launched, sales of women’s apparel are up. True, Kmart’s move towards inclusion comes as the result of cold, hard number crunching. Still, we’re happy whenever fuller-figured women are given the clothing options they deserve.
To promote its new diversity promotion, on September 10 Kmart released a campaign entitled “I Can.” “The ‘I Can’ campaign is simple. We’re telling women, ‘you can be whoever you want to be,’” explained Cook. Watch the web ad below.
[ via WWD ]