Loft to drop large sizes

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Diving letter:

  • Loft faced an onslaught of criticism on social media on Monday after the clothing retailer announced in comments that it was phasing out plus sizes. Customers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter criticized the brand for its size limit, with many noting that many US women cannot shop there.

  • The brand and new owner Sycamore Partners did not immediately respond to requests for more information. But the brand said on Twitter and elsewhere, “Unfortunately, due to ongoing business challenges, we have had to make some tough decisions that will affect our Plus collection. This fall, our size range will be 00-18 / XXS – XXL. We apologize sincerely for every disappointment. “

  • Private equity firm Sycamore bought Loft, Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and Lou & Gray brands last year for $ 540 million during a bankruptcy auction.

Dive Insight:

In its statement to disappointed customers regarding its decision to abandon larger sizing, Loft cites and likely refers to “business challenges” Complexity of making clothes in different sizes.

For the right fit, for example, there must be samples properly graded for smaller or larger items, beyond a medium range that the industry considers “normal”. Upscale workwear startup MM LaFleur last year provided a similar justification when it said it would reduce its own offering for plus customers.

However, this reasoning ignores a significant opportunity. Plus size women’s clothing represents a $ 9.8 billion market this year Data from IBIS World. The company named US adults between the ages of 46 and 64 as “a key target audience for plus size womenswear” and said the number of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 is “expected to increase in 2020, which is a potential opportunity for the industry represents “.

In addition, Gen-Z consumers are increasingly demanding size inclusiveness and sustainability from brands, so Study by the market research company for retailers Edited. That can lead some to increase their supply. The number of new Plus or Curve styles at mass retailers increased by 11% in 2020 compared to the previous year, although these items still “make up a minimal proportion of the total supply delivered and increase to 12% compared to 11% in 2019”, said Editeded.

Athleta, the activewear brand of Gap Inc., one of the top performing companies in this conglomerate, announced the Expansion of the inclusive size up to 350 styles in the entire collection. For spring 2021, 70% of the activewear collection will be available in sizes 1X-3X (or 18-26), the brand announced in January. Additionally, the brand eschews what Edited calls “passive aggressive” language in plus women marketing that emphasizes “flattering” or “slimming” styling, and adheres to concepts such as “confidence” to market all sizes.

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