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Somewhat late to the market, Neiman Marcus has announced plans to add plus-size women’s clothing to five stores in its Last Call chain, before rolling out the “Curvy Chic” in-store departments to all the off-price locations. Although it has sold larger sizes on its website for a few years, Neiman Marcus has not indicated any plans to add these options to its traditional, upscale stores.

Rather, in noting statistics that indicate that approximately 65 percent of women wear plus sizes, as well as repeated requests for extended size choices, Neiman Marcus is seeking to appeal to this prominent segment with a diverse product assortment. Among the activewear, fashion apparel, and formal dress, approximately 20 percent of what Last Call stocks will be exclusive to its locations, not available elsewhere.

Competitors such as Nordstrom already offer plus-sized options, across its Rack, online, and conventional channels. Furthermore, retailers in other sectors are taking a revised approach to appeal to female shoppers that does not separate larger sizes into a different department. For example, at Meijer, all sizes appear on the same racks, organized by product rather than by size categories.

Discussion Question:

  1. Why is Neiman Marcus expanding its offering to plus-size women?
  2. Why hasn’t it catered to these women in the past?
  3. Think of your favorite apparel stores. Do they cater to plus-sized women? Should they? Why or why not?

Source: George Anderson, Retail Wire, February 14, 2016