Kmart’s new apparel ad campaign is all about celebrating — not marginalizing — “plus sized” women, while putting that full-figure label to rest for good. Kmart’s new "I Can” ad push fetes women of all shapes and sizes and marks the expansion of its signature brands (e.g., Joe Boxer, Basic Editions, Jaclyn Smith) to larger sizes such as 1X and 5X. With this move, Kmart boasts it’s now the only U.S. retailer to extend the sizing in all of its apparel brands and product categories, including intimates, swimwear, and even footwear in wider widths, Kelly Cook, the retailer's chief marketing officer told Forbes. Integral to this “inclusive apparel movement” is the rebranding of Kmart's “plus sized” section to the “fabulously sized” moniker based on feedback from shoppers. The discount retail chain is taking down plus-sized signage in stores nationwide and replacing it with new rack toppers in stores that read “Fabulously Sized.”
Total Retail's Take: According to the NPD Group, the market for plus-size women's clothing is $20.4 billion. Furthermore, U.S. sales of women's plus-size apparel, often defined as a "Misses" size 14 and higher, rose 17 percent to $20.4 billion in 2016, from $17.4 billion in 2013. During that time, overall apparel sales increased 7 percent, according to NPD Group. Yet many retailers seem to be ignoring the plus-size market. Kmart has made a conscious effort not to, and the struggling retailer is hoping to cash in on the opportunity. According to Cook, full-figure women account for 22 percent of Kmart’s customers, and are some of its most loyal: Over 32 percent shop the chain 11 times or more a year, according to the company. By catering to this demographic with extended product assortments and styles, Kmart figures to gain an edge vs. the competition.