- Old Navy on Tuesday announced a new inclusive “Size YES” campaign that entails bringing its previously online-only plus collection into 75 stores.
- Customers can now order the plus line from any store and receive free shipping, according to a company press release.
- Old Navy’s women’s line is offered in 74 sizes and eight lengths, spanning 0-30, XS-XXL and 1x-4x, in regular, petite, tall, short and long. In addition to its women’s plus and petite specialty lines, the brand also offers men’s big and tall, boys husky and slim, and girls plus and slim, the company said.
Old Navy's "Size YES" campaign is a stark departure from three years ago, when the Gap Inc. brand was mostly saying "no" to customers who wanted to shop for or return plus size merchandise in stores.
In 2014, Old Navy faced a Change.org petition amid customer complaints that it charged women more than men for its plus-sized apparel. The company said then that plus-sized jeans for women cost more because they require more design and manufacturing adjustments. The retailer at the time relented just a little and began allowing stores to take returns of plus-sized clothing. The brand also set up a series of meetings with customers regarding its policies around its alternative sized garments, including the possibility of selling them in stores.
There was no mention of the fracas or any customer input in Old Navy's announcement of its new approach, though CEO Sonia Syngal said in a statement on Tuesday that "at Old Navy, we believe in the democracy of style."
As well it should, considering that rivals have made concerted efforts to reach a customer segment eager to spend money on fashion that fits. Target, which in the past has also been criticized for leaving plus sizes in many of its collections for sale only on its website, has added in-store inclusive sizing and in its marketing and displays, and Nordstrom has amplified inclusive sizing to boost apparel sales.
Those retailers are in a better position to capture those customers than the specialty retailers that have long catered to them because shoppers these days want more inclusive sizing, rather than hyper-specialization of the segment into separate stores or labels, according to Jane Hali, CEO of investment research firm Jane Hali & Associates.
Other women's apparel retailers have also indicated they see potential in the plus-sized market. In July, J. Crew unveiled a summer and fall collection with Universal Standard, a women's apparel brand specializing in inclusive sizing that included a range of dresses, tops, skirts and pants in sizes up to 5x. Its sibling brand Madewell followed suit with its own new sizing standard less than a month later, offering customers denim in sizes 23 to 37 and other apparel in sizes XXS to 3X.