Kmart ditches plus sizes for ‘fabulously sized’ clothing

Discussion
Source: Kmart - "I Can"
Sep 13, 2017
George Anderson

Kmart wants female consumers to know that it is all about positive body image. That’s the message the mass merchant hopes is getting through with its decision to rename its plus-sized clothing sections as “fabulously sized”. It’s also behind the launch of Kmart’s new “I Can” ad campaign, which features confident women wearing the “amazing” fashions sold in the chain’s stores and on kmart.com.

Larger sizes already represent 22 percent of Kmart’s women’s clothing sales, according to a Forbes article, and consumers in this segment are among the most loyal to the retailer. Over 32 percent of Kmart shoppers buying larger sizes of women’s clothes shop the chain more than 11 times a year.

Kmart, which has seen its store count shrink to 482 locations, has struggled to gain sales traction. Same-store sales at the chain dropped more than nine percent in the most recent quarter.

In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Kelly Clark, chief marketing officer at Kmart, said the chain’s approach to merchandising “fabulously sized” clothing is based on the preferences of its customers. Younger women, for example, prefer items in their sizes to be integrated with smaller sizes. Older shoppers prefer that clothes in their sizes be set apart. The result is that Kmart is offering larger sizes in popular brands sold in its stores including Joe Boxer and Everlast. Basic Editions and Jaclyn Smith offer fashions for older women.

Ms. Cook said the response on social media to Kmart’s fabulously sized change has been positive. RetailWire’s review of posts on sites including Facebook found varying opinions on the change. Many did not seem to know about Kmart’s plan to integrate many of the larger sizes in with other clothes. Others who were critical accused the chain of engaging in political correctness and failing to be authentic in its messaging.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Kmart’s approach to marketing and merchandising “fabulously sized” women’s clothing prove successful?

Braintrust
"Women need and want to know that designs are made for them too. Will it make a difference for Kmart? That remains the question. "
"I guess the real question is, with the current state of Kmart, will these changes matter?"
"Kmart will need to follow up this change with a good marketing campaign to bring more women into the store to shop..."

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7 Comments on "Kmart ditches plus sizes for ‘fabulously sized’ clothing"

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Max Goldberg
BrainTrust

Good for Kmart for listening to its customers and making changes. I guess the real question is, with the current state of Kmart, will these changes matter?

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

My immediate answer is yes. As for the marketing campaign, appealing to the plus-sized shopper is not new, and this campaign has some flashbacks to the 2015 Lane Bryant “Plus Is Equal” campaign. Large-sized people are people just like anyone else and catering to them is fine. They too want to look and feel good. Kmart has a price point that appeals to a particular audience, so I’m in favor of this and see it with great potential. My concern though is too often today what the company advertises and what takes place at store level are two different experiences. For example, Office Depot is running a great TV campaign “Taking Care of Business.” But go into any of their stores and you will not see or hear anything that relates to the TV ads. So if Kmart can deliver in their stores what the ad campaign presents, they should have a winning formula.

David Livingston
Guest
2 months 9 days ago

I think the stigma of buying anything from Kmart is enough to make it fail. I still have nightmares of kids making fun of me 50 years ago because my mom bought me some clothes from Kmart. Goodwill has a better reputation now for clothes than Kmart.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

I love the campaign! Just look at Project Runway this season with their all-sizes models. Women need and want to know that designs are made for them too. Will it make a difference for K-mart? That remains the question. For my 2 cents.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Kmart is making a great decision to turn a potential negative merchandising mark into a positive. This shows they are listening to their customers. However, it may be too little too late when it comes to driving more sales from this customer segment. Kmart will need to follow up this change with a good marketing campaign to bring more women into the store to shop, otherwise this is a bit like a tree falling in a forest where no one is there to hear it.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Kmart is doomed, so no, the effort will not be successful. A fairer question might be “is it a good idea and would it work at a place that has a future?”

That I don’t know … I guess we’ll have to wait until such a store imitates the idea to find out.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

A quick visit to Kmart.com this am. While the “I Can” video was front and center, women’s apparel offerings were still filtered by “women’s” and “plus size clothing.” Many of the apparel offerings said, “sold by Sears.” The “I Can” video is vague — yes the women look plus size, but confusing why the video shows the plus size model taking a white sledgehammer to knock the “T” out of “I CAN’T” to make it read “I Can.” Not sure of the meaning. As far as I know, Plus Size Women can already do what ever they want and find many great retailers inventoried with great looking “plus size” clothes. Check out DressBarn — online or in-store.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Women need and want to know that designs are made for them too. Will it make a difference for Kmart? That remains the question. "
"I guess the real question is, with the current state of Kmart, will these changes matter?"
"Kmart will need to follow up this change with a good marketing campaign to bring more women into the store to shop..."

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