Will Old Navy succeed with a one-price regardless of size concept?

Discussion
Photo: Old Navy
Nov 04, 2019
Matthew Stern

Larger clothing doesn’t mean higher prices at Old Navy’s new Size Yes concept store.

In October, the clothing chain began transforming 30 stores with existing plus-sized sections into full Size Yes concept stores, according to InStyle. Size Yes will sell clothing at prices that do not vary between sizes of the same item.

Before beginning the rollout of the Size Yes concept, 75 of Old Navy’s locations were piloting in-store shops dedicated to the chain’s collection of plus-sized clothing, called Plus. Old Navy has spoken of the move as part of a chain-wide initiative to promote size diversity and inclusion in both messaging and assortment. The Size Yes concept is, at this point, only a temporary pilot with the locations scheduled to return to regular operations on November 13. The long-term goal, however, is to sell all sizes of all products at the same price throughout the chain.

Many major retailers have begun working to improve their range of size offerings to better meet the needs of a more size-diverse customer base. Last year, for example, Walmart announced the acquisition of Eloquii, a plus-sized apparel e-tailer (with five physical storefronts). In 2017, Neiman Marcus began piloting plus-sized clothing in five Last Call outlet locations.

Stores have been changing how they treat their plus-sized assortments, as well. In 2016, Midwest regional chain Meijer began folding its selection of women’s plus sizes in with the rest of its women’s clothing, reasoning that customers shop by style, not by size. 

Retailers have been exploring ways to be more size-inclusive in their merchandise presentations, too. Over the summer Nike debuted a plus-sized mannequin in its refurbished London flagship store. 

In Old Navy’s case, the new pricing strategy comes at a time when the chain is preparing to emerge as a standalone business. Gap Inc. came out with the news earlier this year that it will spin off Old Navy. Since then, Old Navy has announced plans to expand its store count from 1,140 to 2,000 locations.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is selling all sizes of an apparel item at the same price the right move for Old Navy and other retailers? Do you think Size Yes should remain a separate concept or should its assortment/pricing structure be extended to all Old Navy stores?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"While the material for the larger sizes may cost more, with today's data a manufacturer should easily be able to create a blended cost. This should be embraced by all brands."
"Plus size consumers want to shop at the same stores as their small sized family and friends. Let’s stop treating normal woman sizes (12, 14, etc.) like they’re the anomaly..."
"Size Yes should become a permanent concept for Old Navy, and other retailers should take note."

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "Will Old Navy succeed with a one-price regardless of size concept?"


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Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

When I worked for The Gap in the ’70s all Levi’s sold for the same price, it’s the right move today as well.

Old Navy has the opportunity to make women who are not sample-sized feel good about themselves and I hope they take it. Women of all shapes and sizes want to be able to shop with friends and family, not just in a separate store that carries only plus sizes. It’s all about the experience, right? I say incorporate Size Yes into the classic Old Navy footprint.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

Yes, this is a solid strategic move. Parity is defined as “the state or condition of being equal.” And price parity should be no exception. I applaud Old Navy’s move and hope that other retailers recognize that equality matters more than size.

I agree with fellow BrainTrust panelist Georganne Bender — Size Yes should be incorporated into the classic Old Navy footprint.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

First of all, I was never smart enough to understand the “logic” of size-based pricing. If retailers have a right to charge more for XL, XXL, XXL, etc. items because they require more material, don’t they also have an equal and complimentary obligation to charge less for S, XS, and petite garments which use less? Why does size-based pricing only work one way? So, yes, I think it is the right thing to do and it should be extended to all items in all stores.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

The concept is simple — this garment costs X regardless of the size. I agree with Ryan. There is no logic in a pricing strategy that charges more for larger sizes and not less for smaller ones. While the material for the larger sizes may cost more, with the data available today a manufacturer should easily be able to create a blended cost. This should be something embraced by all brands.

Stephen Rector
BrainTrust

Absolutely it’s the right move for Old Navy and I suggest they roll it out as quickly as possible. While this could put pressure on margins based on upfront production costs, the hope would be that the increase in sales and less markdowns taken will offset that as repeat loyal customers increase over time.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Yes, this is the right move by Old Navy to reinforce an attitude of caring inclusivity (vs. judgmental body-shaming). In 2019, consumers expect and reward retailers that celebrate diversity — without penalizing larger shoppers. This policy will help Old Navy to compete effectively with nimble rivals like ASOS and Boohoo to welcome consumers of all sizes. Soon enough, Size Yes’ business results will prove whether Old Navy should extend this strategy to all stores.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

This is a timely move by Old Navy given the size inclusivity movement that is so prevalent right now. Nobody deserves to be charged more because of their body type.

However, I’d love to see Old Navy rolling out more plus-size apparel within their existing store concept, instead of opening separate stores for full-figured customers.

Plus size consumers want to shop at the same stores as their small sized family and friends. Let’s stop treating normal woman sizes (12, 14, etc.) like they’re the anomaly, already.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

And stop treating women who wear a size 12 or 14 as plus-sized because they aren’t. And what’s with making being plus-sized is a crime? The size you wear shouldn’t be a big deal. I’m a double-digit. Who cares?

Peter Charness
BrainTrust

The answer is yes, all sizes should sell for the same price, but the logic is a bit harder. Differential pricing based on slight cost differences (more fabric, a little more labor, etc.) doesn’t seem to make sense. But pricing isn’t always based on “cost.” How about selling all colors for the same price? In some seasons certain colors may be marked down because they don’t sell as well – but they all cost the same. Given the model of airline seats which are sold effectively based on demand, should clothing be the same? I think we can agree that starting prices should be the same, in season – it’s based on demand. Amazon for example sells different sizes for different prices purely on what appears to be a demand-based model.

Meaghan Brophy
BrainTrust

Size Yes is absolutely a great (if overdue) move for Old Navy. A majority of shoppers are not “sample size.” The shopping experience needs to cater to the customer, not the other way around. Shopping is a social activity. Separating women’s sizes into different departments (or even different stores) with different pricing makes it hard for friends and family to shop together. Size Yes should become a permanent concept for Old Navy, and other retailers should take note.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

Great observations, Meaghan. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Americans are getting “wider” because of age, diet and inactivity. No one wants to be penalized for this fact by retailers charging more for plus sized clothing. Charging more for plus sized clothing verges on “fat-shaming.”

The demographics of Old Navy and retailers in this space are more likely to attract a population of bigger sizes. Chanel and Escada, for example, do not even offer sizes larger than size twelve. Small sizes are showcased in exclusive boutiques and bigger sizes are only available to special order. There are retailers who cater to large women and men but they are rarely upscale brands.

Thus, it seams that a “one price fits all” policy is essential in treating all customers equally.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Like many people, I imagine, I wasn’t even aware there were different prices for different sizes; I hesitate to call it “discrimination,” since there’s perhaps a theoretical rationale for it, but whatever differences there may in fabric usage and shipping costs, the simplicity of a one-price model likely overrides such concerns.

As for the last part of the story — the almost doubling store count element: I can only shake my head.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Plus-sizes are the new average. According to Glamour, plus-size women represent 68% of shoppers. Penalizing shoppers for being “average” by charging higher prices for larger sizes doesn’t make sense and Gap and other retailers are doing the right thing by charging the same price for all sizes.

I like the idea of including Size Yes as a store-within-a-store so consumers of all sizes can shop in the same store. That way, friends of all sizes can shop together.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"While the material for the larger sizes may cost more, with today's data a manufacturer should easily be able to create a blended cost. This should be embraced by all brands."
"Plus size consumers want to shop at the same stores as their small sized family and friends. Let’s stop treating normal woman sizes (12, 14, etc.) like they’re the anomaly..."
"Size Yes should become a permanent concept for Old Navy, and other retailers should take note."

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