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Plus-Size and Big and Tall Clothing in the U.S.

Marketers have big ideas for a big market: Together, plus-size clothing for women and girls, and big & tall clothing for men and boys, rocketed to $76 billion at retail in 2006. By 2012, plus-size/big & tall could shatter the $100 billion mark. Everyone knows that America’s trend to obesity is one major driver; two thirds of us are now overweight. But other positives include improved selection, hipper designs for youth, and the burgeoning e-tail channel. This new Packaged Facts report delves into annual sales patterns, forecasts, and the qualitative factors that shape this market. The competitive strategies of Casual Male, Charming Shoppes (Lane Bryant), Jones Apparel Group, Kellwood, Sara Lee (Just My Size), and others are profiled.

Report Methodology
The information forming Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing: The U.S. Market was gathered from primary, secondary, and syndicated sources. Primary research involved on-site study of how plus-size/big & tall clothing is sold through retail stores; Packaged Facts also consulted with industry executives; and analyzed data on plus-size jeans from DataUnison (Victoria, British Columbia), the official reseller for eBay's Market Data Program. Secondary research involved culling and comparing data from extensive articles in financial, marketing, and retail publications, as well as other trade press. Company literature, annual reports, government agencies, and other sources also provided valuable secondary data. Estimates of media buys for advertising to consumers are taken from published data gathered by TNS Media Intelligence (TNSMI), a subsidiary of Taylor Nelson Sofres. Profiles of product and brand use are based on survey data from Simmons Market Research Bureau, Inc., one of the country’s leading demographics firms.

What You’ll Get in this Report
Plus-Size and Big and Tall Clothing in the U.S. makes important predictions and recommendations regarding the future of this market, and pinpoints ways current and prospective marketers can capitalize on current trends and spearhead new ones. No other market research report provides both the comprehensive analysis and extensive data that Plus-Size and Big and Tall Clothing in the U.S. offers. The report addresses the following segments:

  • The Market (including market size and composition, and projected market growth)
  • The Marketers (including discussions of specific marketer brand and market shares)
  • Competitive Profiles (of the mainstream marketers, specialists and up-and-coming niche players, and analyses of the products they market)
  • Retail and Internet Strategies
  • The Consumer (who’s buying what, and where)
  • The Products
  • Trends and Opportunities

Plus, you’ll benefit from extensive data, presented in easy-to-read and practical charts, tables and graphs.

How You Will Benefit from this Report
If your company is already competing in the plus-size and big and tall clothing industry, or is considering making the leap, you will find this report invaluable, as it provides a comprehensive package of information and insight not offered in any other single source. You will gain a thorough understanding of the current market for plus-size and big and tall clothing, as well as projected sales and trends through 2012. Contributing to that understanding will be a complete analysis of sales data, and a detailed discussion of the consumer for plus-size and big and tall clothing based on Simmons data.

This report will help:

  • Marketing Managers identify market opportunities and develop targeted promotion plans for plus-size and big and tall clothing.
  • Research and development professionals stay on top of competitor initiatives and explore demand for plus-size and big and tall clothing.
  • Advertising agencies working with clients in the clothing industry understand the product buyer to develop messages and images that compel consumers to purchase these products.
  • Business development executives understand the dynamics of the market and identify possible partnerships.
  • Information and research center librarians provide market researchers, brand and product managers and other colleagues with the vital information they need to do their jobs more effectively.


  • Executive Summary
    • Two Categories: Plus-Size and Big & Tall
      • Joint Plus-Size/Big & Tall Market Worth $76 Billion in 2006
      • Plus-Size Category Hits Record $47 Billion
        • Table Estimated and Projected U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing:* 2001-2012 (in billions of dollars)
      • Big & Tall Category Pushes to $29 Billion, Also a Record
      • In Context: Plus-Size/Big & Tall Accounts for 43% of U.S. Clothing Market
        • Table Retail Dollar Sales of Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing Expressed as Share of All U.S. Clothing Sales, 2005 vs. 2006 (in billion of dollars)
      • More Context: Larger-Sizes Take Huge Shares of Overall Clothing Sales by Gender
      • Projected Sales: Plus-Size/Big & Tall Mart Rocketing to $106 Billion by 2012
      • Projected Sales: Plus-Size Category to Climb to $65 Billion in 2012
      • Projected Sales: Big & Tall Category Seen in Push to $42 Billion in 2012
      • Mass, Department Stores Overpower Plus-Size/Big & Tall-Specific Channels
        • Table Retail Sales of Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing: By Channel, 2006 (in billions of dollars)
      • Outlook for Specialty Alone: Almost $24 Billion in 2012
      • Factors in Future Market Growth
      • Retailer-Marketers Highly Important in This Sector
      • Charming Shoppes Is Clear Dominator of Plus-Size Specialty
      • Casual Male Is the King of Big & Tall Specialty
      • The Competitive Situation
      • DMKs Should Pump Plus-Size/Big & Tall Sales
      • Overall Consumer Advertising Expenditures
      • The Consumer: Weight Admitters
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Respondents' Admission of Overweight: All Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
  • Chapter The Overall Market - Highlights
  • The Overall Market
    • Introduction
      • Market Parameters
      • Clarification of Terms
      • Methodology
    • Size Ranges
      • Clothing Sizes Not Standardized
      • Definitions of "Plus-Size" and "Big & Tall" Are Often Intuitive
      • Some Big & Tall Size ranges Based on Absolute Numbers
    • Overall Market Size and Growth
      • In Context: Plus-Size/Big & Tall Accounts for 43% of U.S. Clothing Mart
        • Table Retail Dollar Sales of Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing Expressed as Share of All U.S. Clothing Sales: 2005 vs. 2006 (in billions of dollars)
      • More Context: Larger-Sizes Take Huge Shares of Overall Clothing Sales by Gender
      • Joint Plus-Size/Big & Tall Market Worth $76 Billion in 2006
      • Trends to Obesity, Upscale Fashions Were Drivers in 2001-2006
        • Table U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing*: 2001-2006 (in billions of dollars)
      • Plus-Size Category Hits Record $47 Billion
      • Big & Tall Category Pushes to $29 Billion, Also a Record
      • Women's/Girls' Category Dominates Market
      • Kids' Segments of the Market Valued at Over $6 Billion
      • Mass, Department Stores Overpower Plus-Size/Big & Tall-Specific Channels
        • Table Retail Sales of Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing: By Channel, 2006 (in billions of dollars)
    • Factors in Future Overall Market Growth
      • A National Trend to Overweight, Obesity, and Greater Height
      • For Women, the Trend to Obesity Could Be Leveling Off
      • Ethnic Groups, Men, Kids Getting Heavier
      • America Accepts All Body Types/America Slims Down
      • Mainstream Marketers Attracted to Larger-Size Potential -- But Many Do Not Emphasize It
      • Online Activity a Boon to This Market
        • Table Share of Plus-Size Jeans Listings on eBay: By Even-Numbered Sizes, 2006
        • Table Selected Top Brands by Total Number and Total Share of Plus-Size Jeans Listings on eBay, 2006
      • Potentially Higher Price-Points Than for Mainstream Apparel
      • Influence of Society's Trend to Elegant, Upscale Products
      • Effects of National Economy, Oil Prices, Inflation
      • New Perceptions of Body Size Could Change the Market Definition
    • Overall Projected Sales
      • Plus-Size/Big & Tall Market Rocketing to $106 Billion by 2012
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Plus-Size and Big & Tall Clothing:* 2006-2012 (in billions of dollars)
      • Plus-Size Category to Climb to $65 Billion
      • Big & Tall Category Foreseen in Push to $42 Billion
      • Outlook for Specialty Alone: Almost $24 Billion in 2012
    • Overall Consumer Advertising Expenditures
      • Plus-Size/Big & Tall-Specific Marketers Halve Spends to $7 Million in 2006
      • A Lot of Advertising Expenditure Is Hidden
      • Four Notable Advertisers in 2006
  • Chapter The Women's and Girls' Plus-Size: Clothing Category - Highlights
  • The Women's and Girls' Plus-Size: Clothing Category
    • The Products
      • Dozens of Plus-Size Product Segments
      • Category Also Segmented by Age Brackets and Styles
      • Selection Narrows with Each Successive Plus-Size
      • Women's Clothing Sizes a Non-standardized Maze
      • Bra Sizes Usually Misjudged
      • Extensions into Accessories, Footwear
    • Category Size and Growth
      • Plus-Size Clothes Rush to $48 Billion in 2006
      • Diet, Image, Fashion Recognition Were Drivers in 2001-2006
        • Table U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Women's and Girls' Plus-Size Clothing: 2001-2006 (in billions of dollars)
      • Plus-Size Girls' Clothes Generate Over $3 Billion
      • Mass, Department Stores Have Triple the Sales of Plus-Size-Specific Channel
    • Factors in Future Category Growth
      • Larger Females Simultaneously Accepted, Warned About Their Health
      • Trends to Overweight and Obesity Are Likely to Moderate
      • Design, Retail Trends to Keep Pumping Plus-Size Category
      • Time to Target Plus-Size Teen and Tween Girls
      • In the 2000s, a Lack of Plus-Specific Magazines
    • Projected Plus-Size Sales
      • Plus-Size Category to Forge on to $65 Billion in 2012
      • The Plus-Size Specialty Channel Outlook: Nearly $15 Billion in 2012
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Women's and Girls' Plus-Size Clothing: 2006-2012 (in billions of dollars)
    • The Plus-Size Marketers
      • Retailer-Marketers Highly Important in This Sector
      • Other Ways to Class the Companies Involved
        • Table Leading Marketers of Plus-Size Clothing, and Their Representative Brands
    • Marketer and Brand Shares
      • Plus-Size Competitive Scene Too Fragmented to Monitor Properly
      • Charming Shoppes Is Clear Dominator of Plus-Size Specialty
      • From Non-Specialized Marketers' Perspective…
    • Marketing and Product Trends
      • More Marketers Accommodating Plus-Sizers -- But Discreetly
      • Practicality
      • More Style, Please
      • Bigger and Smaller Cups, for Plus-Size Bodies or Not
        • Table Selected Introductions of Women's and Girls' Plus-Size Clothing, 2006-2007
    • Consumer Advertising Expenditures
      • Plus-Size-Specific Marketers Slash Ad Spends to Under $6 Million in 2006
      • A Lot of Expenditure Is Hidden
      • Charming Shoppes Spends $5 Million
      • Hanesbrands' Buys Plummet to $371,000
      • Hanover Direct Spends $102,000
    • Consumer Advertising and Website/Catalog Positioning
      • Positioning Plus-Size Ads, Websites, Catalogs: The Five Basic Choices
      • Very Few Plus-Specific Advertising Examples
      • Direct Sellers' Ads
    • Consumer Promotions
      • Discount and Free Shipping Offers
      • Win Prizes
      • A Proprietary Slick Magazine
      • A TV Series Tie-In
      • A Charity Gala
  • Chapter The Men's and Boy's Big & Tall: Clothing Category - Highlights
  • The Men's and Boy's Big & Tall: Clothing Category
    • The Products
      • Men's and Boys' Big & Tall Clothing Segments
      • Additional Segmentation by Men's versus Boys' Sizes and Styles
      • Big & Tall Assortment Tapers Drastically as Size Increases
      • Clothing Sizes Not Standardized
      • But Some Big & Tall Size Ranges Based on Absolute Measurements
      • Extensions into Accessories, Footwear
    • Category Size and Growth
      • Big & Tall Category Nears $29 Billion in 2006
      • Obesity Trend, Better Selection Drove Sales in 2001-2006
        • Table U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Men's and Boys' Big & Tall Clothing: 2001-2006 (in billions of dollars)
      • Husky Boys' Clothing Yields $3 Billion
      • Mass and Department Stores Tower Over Big & Tall Specialty Channel
    • Factors in Future Category Growth
      • Trends to Overweight, Obesity, Tallness Not Necessarily Permanent
      • This Sexist World: Big, Tall Men Less Stigmatized Than Plus-Size Women
      • Selection to Keep Improving
      • Hipper Designs Needed for Husky Teen/Tween Boys
      • Availability Must Improve -- On the Brick-and- Mortar Side
      • Mass Channel Has Advantage -- If It Gets Wise
    • Projected Sales
      • Big & Tall Category to Keep Growing to $42 Billion in 2012
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Dollar Sales of Men's and Boys' Big & Tall Clothing: 2006-2012 (in billions of dollars)
      • The Big & Tall Specialty Channel Outlook: $10.5 Billion Possible by 2012
    • The Big & Tall Marketers
      • Retailer-Marketers Very Common on Big & Tall Scene
      • Other Types of Companies Involved
        • Table Leading Marketers of Big & Tall Clothing, and Their Representative Brands
    • Marketer and Brand Shares
      • Big & Tall Competitive Scene Is Fragmented, Poorly Monitored
      • Casual Male Is the King of Big & Tall Specialty
      • From Non-Specialized Marketers' Perspective…
    • Marketing and Product Trends
      • Thanks to Media, More Big & Tall Sizes/Styles in All Retail Channels
      • Thanks to Casual Male, Greater Visibility for Big & Tall Specialty
      • Thanks to Internet, Greater Ease of Shopping for Big Guys
      • A Focus on the Handsome, Athletic Type
    • Consumer Advertising Expenditures
      • Big & Tall Clothing Advertisers Spend $1 Million in 2006
      • No Big & Tall-Specific Media Buys Measured in 2005
      • But in Every Year, Lots of Expenditures Are Hidden
      • Casual Male Spends Over $1 Million
    • Consumer Advertising and Website/Catalog Positioning
      • Positioning Big & Tall Ads, Websites, Catalogs: The Three Main Modes
      • Very Few Big & Tall-Specific Advertising Examples
      • I'm a Bigger Man Than You (and I Wear My Clothes Better)
    • Consumer Promotions
      • Discounts, Twofers, Free Shipping
      • No Interest, No Payments for 90 Days
      • NBA Players Walk the Fashion Show Runway
  • Chapter The Competitive Situation - Highlights
  • The Competitive Situation
    • Overview: Specialists Position on Size, Non-Specialists on Style
      • Fragility of the Specialty Channel
      • Price Picture Dominated by Low-to-Moderate Tiers
      • Ten Competitive Profiles Follow
    • Competitive Profile: Casual Male Retail Group, Inc.
      • Sales Continue Climb to $467 Million in Fiscal 2006
      • Largest Big & Tall Specialist Has Two Main Retail Marques
      • Casual Male Leaner, Meaner Since 2002 Takeover
    • Competitive Profile: Charming Shoppes, Inc./ Lane Bryant
      • Net Sales of $3.1 Billion in Fiscal 2007
      • Charming Manages a Community via Marketing, Retailing, Publishing
      • Crosstown Traders Acquisition Beefs Up Direct Sales Presence
    • Competitive Profile: Hanesbrands, Inc./Just My Size
      • Net Sales of Over $2 Billion in Transitional 2nd Half of 2006
      • Quality + Style + Vast Turnover
      • Both a Plus size and a Big & Tall Marketer
      • Hanesbrands' Multi-Channel Dance
        • Table Share of Hanesbrands, Inc.'s Net Dollar Sales: By Retail Channel, 2nd Half of 2006 (percent)
    • Competitive Profile: InterActiveCorp (IAC)/HSN
      • Net Revenues Approach $6.3 billion in 2006
        • Table Share of InterActiveCorp Revenues: By Business Segment, 2006 (percent)
      • Home Shopping and Acquisitions Built IAC
      • Cornerstone Brands Acquired in 2005
      • HSN a Bully Pulpit for IAC's Plus size Brands
    • Competitive Profile: Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation
      • An Historic $3.5 Billion in Net Sales in Fiscal 2006
      • Double-Digit Growth Foreseen for Fiscal 2007
      • More Big & Tall Items Than Plus size
      • PRL the Private-Labeler and Retailer
    • Competitive Profile: Unity Brands, Ltd./ Goddess Bra Company
      • Estimated Sales of Over $64 Million
      • Value in Plus size and Large-Cup Lingerie
      • Goddess Well-Distributed in U.S. -- As Unity Tries Retail Waters
    • Competitive Profile: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
      • Net Sales Hit Record $349 Billion in Fiscal 2007
      • Micro Tuning the Juggernaut and Its Private Labels
      • Wal-Mart's Attention to Plus size/Big & Tall Categories
    • Three Marketers to Watch
      • Tenille White Chicago
      • C.enne.V Couture
      • FSA Plus Woman
      • Trade Shows
  • Chapter Distribution and Retail - Highlights
  • Distribution and Retail
    • At the Retail Level
      • Potentially Higher Margins on Plus-Size/Big & Tall Clothing
      • Usually Multi-Brand Assortments
      • Yet Assortment Tapers as Size Climbs...
    • Retail Focus: Direct Sales
      • Internet Nicks Away at Catalog Use
      • Catalog Business: Forty Times More Women's Apparel Leads Than Men's
      • Reactivation of Dead (Sleeping) Leads Can Be Cost-Effective
      • Television Home Shopping: Kressley's on QVC! Repassy's on HSN!
    • Retail Focus: Digital Measuring Kiosks (DMKs)
      • The Basic Concept
      • Three DMK Companies: Equipment and Applications
      • DMKs Should Pump Plus-Size/Big & Tall Sales
  • Chapter The Consumer - Highlights
  • The Consumer
    • About Simmons Data
      • What They Are…
      • …And How to Use Them
      • The "Weight Admitters" Subset
      • The Survey's Overall Adult Gauge
      • Marketing Regions Defined
        • Table Projections of Numbers of U.S. Adults: By Demographic Factor, 2006 (in thousands)
    • America's Trend to Overweight and Obesity
      • America Fattening at a Spectacular Rate
        • Table U.S. Prevalence of Overweight and Obese Adults: 1988/1994, 1999/2000, 2001/2002, and 2003/2004 (all adults aged 20 and over)
      • Women's Prevalence Toward Obesity Stabilized in 1999-2004
      • Americans Don't Spare the Children
        • Table U.S. Prevalence of Overweight and Obese Children: 1988/1994, 1999/2000, 2001/2002, and 2003/2004 (all children aged infancy through 19)
      • Certain Races/Ethnicities Also Getting Heavier
      • Foundation to Spend $500 Million to Fight Kids' Obesity
    • The Consumer: Patronage of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug Stores
      • Almost 9 Million Shop Fashion Bug
      • Over 6 Million Shop Lane Bryant
      • Men Shop Here, Too...
      • Middle Age, Blacks, Homemakers, Kids Favor Patronage
      • And Women Alone...
      • Lane Bryant Catalog Users Skew Older Than Store Visitors
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Patronage of Women's Plus-Size Clothing Stores by Retail Marque: Fashion Bug Stores, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 3 months)
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Patronage of Women's Plus-Size Clothing Stores by Retail Marque: Lane Bryant Stores, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 3 months)
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Purchase of Women's Plus-Size Clothing from Lane Bryant Catalog, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
    • The Consumer: Just My Size and Lane Bryant Plus-Size Jeans
      • Almost 3.4 Million Just My Size Jeans Purchasers
      • Almost 3.2 Million Lane Bryant Jeans Purchasers
      • Plus-Size Jeans: Two Brands Have Different Audiences
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Purchase of Plus-Size Jeans by Brand: Just My Size, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Purchase of Plus-Size Jeans by Brand: Lane Bryant, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
    • The Consumer: Weight Admitters
      • What Is a Weight Admitter?
      • Nearly 28 Million Weight Admitters
      • Middle-Age, Middle-Class Brackets Are Influential
      • Psychographics: Weight Admitters a Conservative Bunch -- For Now
      • Weight Admitters' Favorite Retailers Led by Wal-Mart
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Respondents' Admission of Overweight: All Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Respondents' Admission of Overweight: Males Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Respondents' Admission of Overweight: Females Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Weight-Admitters' Strong Agreement With Attitudinal Statements: All Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands)
        • Table Weight-Admitters' Strong Agreement With Attitudinal Statements: Males Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands)
        • Table Weight-Admitters' Strong Agreement With Attitudinal Statements: Females Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands)
        • Table Weight-Admitters' Patronage of Selected Retailers: All Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands)
        • Table Weight-Admitters' Patronage of Selected Retailers by Gender: Males Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands)
        • Table Weight-Admitters' Patronage of Selected Retailers by Gender: Females Admitting Overweight, 2006 (adults in thousands)
    • The Consumer: Weight Admitters' Direct Purchasing
      • Over 5 Million Weight Admitters Buy Apparel Via Mail/Phone Order
      • Almost 5 Million Weight Admitters Buy Apparel Online
      • Mail/Phone Users Older, Less Affluent; Internet Users Younger, More Affluent
      • Most Weight Admitters Who Direct-Purchase Spend Over $100 Annually
      • Catalogs Still See More Purchasing Than Websites; Mail/Phone Ordering Still Outpaces Online Ordering
      • Six Million Female Weight Admitters, 3 Million Male, Shop Gender-Specific Catalogs
      • Six Million Weight Admitters Watch Television Home Shopping
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Weight-Admitters' Direct Purchase of Apparel: Bought Apparel Via Mail/Phone Order, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Demographic Characteristics Most Favoring Weight-Admitters' Direct Purchase of Apparel: Bought Apparel Via Internet Orders, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Number of Weight-Admitters Purchasing Direct* by Amount: Via Mail/Phone-Order (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Number of Weight-Admitters Purchasing Direct* by Amount: Via Internet Website (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Number of Weight-Admitters Purchasing Direct (Via Mail/Phone-Order, Internet Websites*): By Medium, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 12 months)
        • Table Number of Weight-Admitters* Viewing Television Home Shopping: By Network, 2006 (adults in thousands, in recent 3 months)
  • Trends and Opportunities
    • Dynamics of Plus-Size/Big & Tall Market Work Against Specialty Channel
      • Weight-ism is Truly Bad for Business
      • Marketers Must Better Cater to Youth
      • Let Upscale Style, Image Infect Brands in All Price-Tiers
      • Digital-Measuring Kiosks (DMKs): Selling the Best to the Biggest
      • A Little Courage Could Bust This Market Wide Open
  • Addresses of Selected Marketers

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