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Special size apparel market segment rapidly growing
Mar '08
The $10.8 billion women's apparel market could far exceed its annual three per cent growth rate if it gave more attention to catering to all special sizes, says a recent Canadian Special Sizes report by the NPD Group.

Sales of plus, petite plus, and tall sizes far outpace the overall apparel market, especially the ladies plus-size market which grew 20 per cent between 2003 and 2007 and now represents one out of every five purchases of ladies apparel in the total ladies apparel market.

However, the report also highlights dissatisfaction among plus-sized consumers compared with tall and petite-sized shoppers, who are able to find clothes in other apparel segments.

"The special sizes market, especially plus size, offers significant growth opportunity for Canadian retailers that are willing to offer a greater variety of wardrobe options and current fashions," says Kaileen Millard-Ruff, Director of Fashion for the NPD Group.

"Our report shows that the Ladies Plus segment in 2007 was the fastest growing size segment and is now worth $2.1 billion.

That's growth of $342 million dollars since 2003, despite significant levels of dissatisfaction with what is available to them. Just imagine if they were satisfied."

The NPD Group report highlights the commitment of dollars the Plus group rewards those retailers who have demonstrated a commitment to marketing to this segment in Canada.

For example, the top 10 plus-size ladies-wear retailers make up 57 per cent of the total plus-size clothing market's dollar share. Conversely, the top 10 retailers of general women's apparel account for only 33 per cent of that market.

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