Anthropologie hopes to earn an A+ with new plus-size clothing options

Discussion
Sources: Anthropologie
Mar 19, 2019
George Anderson

Anthropologie, the lifestyle retailer created for educated and affluent women between the ages of 30 and 45, has debuted a new, expanded collection of plus-sized clothing under the APlus by Anthropologie category.

The collection, which incorporates many of Anthropologie’s popular brands, including Maeve, Pilcro, et al, expands the sizes available at the chain to include 16W to 26W. Previously, Anthropologie offered sizing from 00P – 14P and 00 – 16. The retailer added petite sizes in the fall of 2012.

“Our goal is to be a destination for everyone wanting to express their personal style and to feel like their best selves,” said Richa Srivastava, managing director, design for Anthropologie, in a statement. “At launch, we’ll offer a great range of options and an exceptional shopping experience. We’ll evolve both as we move forward, adding more styles and locations as we learn from customer feedback.”

The APlus category will include more than 120 styles and will initially be available in 10 of the chain’s stores and on its website. The chain, which is part of the URBN group, currently operates 226 stores in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Anthropologie joins a growing number of retailers that are adding plus-size clothing in stores and online. Last fall, Walmart acquired Eloquii, which began as part of L Brands in 2011 before being bought by a group of employees and an investor in 2014. The consumer-direct brand specializes in fashionable clothing for women sizes 14 and higher.

Today, more than 68 percent of American women wear sizes 14 and up, according to Plunkett Research. The plus-size market currently stands at about $21 billion with annual growth of 4.1 percent since 2015, according to Marketdata.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why aren’t more apparel retailers that serve women offering clothing size options that better mirror the population? Do you think those retailers expanding plus-size selections are taking the right steps to succeed in the category?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I like the idea of serving the plus-size market, but 10 stores is too few for a chain with 225 stores."
"It’s a sorrow of my life, really. Very hard to find cool looking clothes unless I’m into rhinestones and large animal prints."
"I’m in Las Vegas this week. The selection of animal prints WITH rhinestones is truly amazing. Especially in sizes 14 and up."

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12 Comments on "Anthropologie hopes to earn an A+ with new plus-size clothing options"


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Anne Howe
BrainTrust

I like the idea of serving the plus-size market, but 10 stores is too few for a chain with 225 stores. Make a commitment or expect to get tagged as news-making instead of retailing.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust
The plus-size category has grown tremendously through the years but so has the competition. Moreover, now we are also looking at a growing group of health-conscious consumers many who are focusing on getting in shape. These people are joining gyms, eating more healthy and attempting to get their bodies fit, so it’s possible we will see a decrease soon of the plus-size market. The bigger problem is those who are in the plus size game haven’t been successful in figuring out the plus-size customer. There are pockets of success, but there is no one place that can say “hey I’m the store everyone shops because … ” Instead, we have too much sameness for all plus-size retailers thereby preventing any one of them as standing out, being different and leading the category. I’m waiting to see a smart retailer who understands the opportunity in the plus-size market to invest in building a brand that will be different and because of its unique appeal to plus-size shoppers become the leader in that category. That would require… Read more »
Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

Tim Gunn’s theory is that it’s laziness. You have to design and cut a bit differently. Ditto for petites.

It’s a sorrow of my life, really. Very hard to find cool looking clothes unless I’m into rhinestones and large animal prints.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I’m in Las Vegas this week. The selection of animal prints WITH rhinestones is truly amazing. Especially in sizes 14 and up.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

That just gave me my best laugh of the morning! Thanks!

Lauren Goldberg
BrainTrust

I think the retailers who are making a true effort to appeal to the plus-size consumer will succeed. Brands and retailers need to do their research and either create different styles, alter cuts, etc. Simply taking popular styles and making them bigger won’t benefit anyone if the clothes don’t make the plus-size consumers look good! Anthropologie’s foray into this business feels a little like a PR play — 10 stores out of 225 is not a roll out, but a test.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

Absolutely. Making plus sized clothing is not just making a bigger size. It is styling for a body type and producing a look that works. When I see that then I’ll say we’re making progress. And that’s my 2 cents.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Kudos to Anthropologie for offering 16W to 26W – actual plus-sizes. Too many retailers think plus-size begins at 12. It’s ridiculous to size shame women because they do not happen to be the size the fashion industry thinks they should be.

I laughed out loud at “Anthropologie joins a growing number of retailers that are adding plus-size clothing in stores” – 10 stores out of 226? Yippee. Paula’s comment about rhinestones and animal prints didn’t make me laugh because fashionistas seem to think that anyone vaguely plus-size needs more tops with cats printed on them.

So this is a start. Again. And nothing much else will happen and millions of women who do not fit into the fashion equation will still roam stores looking for something to wear. QVC offers everything it sells in sizes 00 – 28W, why can’t other retailers figure this out?

Tom Dougherty
BrainTrust

It is an interesting move. One that reflects current demographics.

But the reality is that women may shop more happily when they ignore their body size. This comment might anger some. But all you need do is look how upscale retailers label sizes smaller than they truly are.

Marketing needs to reflect internal reality and not politically correct notions. I will watch this with great interest.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

I continue to be amazed by retail’s casual approach to sizes. If 68 percent of American women wear size 14 or above, why on earth don’t they have ready access to whatever kind of clothing they prefer? Let’s hope that some apparel company gets the formula correct, makes a ton of profit, and everyone else comes after them.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
BrainTrust

Retailers that make serious efforts to design compelling apparel for the top (and bottom) of the size curve can fill a gaping hole for the majority of U.S. women.

Rob Gallo
BrainTrust

I think more retailers ARE trying to serve the plus-size customer, but it isn’t easy which is why you don’t see clear leaders emerging. I’ve done extensive customer and competitive research in the space. The challenges are significant and not anywhere near the same as the petites business.

I get that people may be underwhelmed by APlus being in only 10 stores out of 225, but best practices for new initiatives would be to test & learn not assume you nailed the concept and go straight to a chain-wide rollout. I will be watching closely to see what Anthropologie learns and the changes they make.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I like the idea of serving the plus-size market, but 10 stores is too few for a chain with 225 stores."
"It’s a sorrow of my life, really. Very hard to find cool looking clothes unless I’m into rhinestones and large animal prints."
"I’m in Las Vegas this week. The selection of animal prints WITH rhinestones is truly amazing. Especially in sizes 14 and up."

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