- Fast fashion retailer Rue21 announced Tuesday that it is expanding its plus-size apparel clothing options to 61 additional stores, according to a company press release. That will bring the number of stores with extended sizes to 318 by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
- Sizing will go up to 4x and collections will include tops, bottoms, dresses, lingerie and sleepwear, per the release.
- "[W]e have made the decision to strategically and aggressively expand rue21's collection of Plus size clothes for teen girls and young women," Rue21 CEO Michael Appel said in a statement.
The slow collapse of the number of available plus-size apparel retailers has created a vacuum.
Forever 21, which provided some plus-size clothing options for a young demographic, has a murky future. The retailer's $81 million sale to Simon Property, Brookfield and Authentic Brands Group was approved on Tuesday. Another player in the space, Avenue, closed all its stores and liquidated this fall. The brand has recently reshaped itself into an e-commerce only retailer.
Additionally, Ascena Retail Group was reportedly in discussions in the fall to sell its plus-size Catherines and Lane Bryant banners. Analysts at the time told Retail Dive that the apparel group should make moves to integrate its extended size offerings into its other brands, namely its Ann Taylor and Loft labels.
It's a strategy Rue21 seems to have embraced by making its extended size ranges available in many of its current locations. "Plus is a 'white space' opportunity for rue21 because few retailers offer on-trend fashion at great prices in the full ranges of sizes," Appel said.
One-third of female consumers identify as plus-size, according to NPD Group's Consumer Tracking Service, while U.S. teens who purchased plus-size clothing jumped to 34% in 2015 compared to 19% in 2012.