Why can’t customers find clothes that fit?

Today’s Retail Wire discussion focuses on the average female customer, who now wears a size 14 dress and nevertheless finds it harder to find clothes that fit in most mall-based specialty retailers. Here are my comments:

If today’s average dress size is 14, then demographics and historical data suggest the average size will be 16 in another five years. Retailers ignore this trend at their peril. It’s tempting to pay less attention to the baby-boomer customer than to a younger, twenty-something consumer who might reflect the merchant’s self-image more appealingly. But baby-boomers carry a disproportionate amount of spending power and are probably the customers driving up the average size.

SKU rationalization makes sense in the context of the retailer’s target customer. It may be hard for (say) J. Crew to justify larger sizes, but it ought to be easier for Ann Taylor. By cutting off its size range in its brick-and-mortar stores, Ann Taylor is inviting some of its best future customers to shop elsewhere.

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1 Response to “Why can’t customers find clothes that fit?”


  1. 1 Rhea June 5, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Women’s clothing sizes are completely arbitrary and without standards. It’s about time that clothing manufacturers labeled women’s clothing with real measurements and not imaginary ‘size 12s’ and ‘size 14s.’


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