Sizing Up The Plus Sized Market: Segment Up 5 Percent, Reaching $17.5 Billion

Retail Sales Channel Performance Strong, Particularly Within E-commerce and Department Stores

Port Washington, NY, June 30, 2014 – Plus-sized women’s clothing, which generally constitutes sizes 18 and up in the United States, grew 5 percent from last year, according to global information company The NPD Group. The category generated $17.5 billion in the 12 months ending April 2014 (May’13 – April’14), compared to the $16.7 billion generated over the same time period during the previous year.

Most sales channels experienced growth between April 2013 and April 2014, namely e-commerce, off-price retailers, department stores, specialty stores, and national chains. E-commerce and department stores in particular have been growing consistently in terms of plus-size sales over the past two years, by 31 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

“The plus-sized market segment is seeing light at the end of the tunnel after being hit particularly hard by the recession,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “With that, retailers and designers are now viewing this area as a growth opportunity, and today there are indeed more plus-sized choices in stores.”

In terms of demographics, 55-64 year-old consumers represented the largest dollar share out of all age groups, accounting for $4.2 billion, a 9 percent increase. Runner up at $4 billion was the 65+ category, which also grew 9 percent. The 18-24 age group has been on the rise since April 2012, and grew 27 percent over a two-year period, or from $850 million to $1.1 billion. Over the past year alone, it has grown 23 percent, while the 25-34 age group increased 11 percent. By contrast, the 13-17 age group fell by 11 percent, 45-54 by 8 percent, and the 35-44 range has remained about the same.

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