Ashley Stewart is testing the waters of South Florida outlet centers.
The women’s plus-size retailer opened its first “extended” pop-up on October 9, a 3,397-sq.-ft. space at Dolphin Mall, the largest outlet shopping center in Miami. A second pop-up will open on November 6, a 2,896-sq.-ft. store at Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, Fla., which is one of the largest outlet shopping centers in the country.
Ashley Stewart is opening each pop-up in partnership with Leap, which offers brands a turn-key omnichannel platform for opening stores. The retailer will leverage Leap's infrastructure, operations, and technology to engage a new customer segment while creating scalable growth channels.
"We're excited to have this opportunity to take a deeper look into our consumer base within South Florida,” said Gary Sheinbaum, CEO, Ashley Stewart, which operates 82 stores nationwide. “We see Leap's turn-key platform as a tool to build deeper connections and increase our omnichannel customer experience.”
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Ashley Stewart will be the only plus-size retailer in both Florida centers. The retailer said the pop-ups will highlight the company's sub-brand, Curvy Girl. The youthful, edgy brand provide fashion-forward pieces perfect for festivals, concerts and informal gatherings. In addition, Ashley Stewart will spotlight special designer lines, including partnerships with DKNY Sport, FILA, Champion. The extended pop-up locations will also carry denim, dresses, intimates along with Ashley Stewart fashion and accessories.
"In addition to great fashion options, we believe our product assortment will resonate with the local consumer base,” said Sheinbaum. “We're excited to test-and-learn as we grow in response to her evolving needs."
The market for plus-sizes — a term that has no set definition but that some retailers define as over size 14 – is growing. Coresight Research has estimated that extended-size market for women in the U.S. will grow to $32.3 billion this year, representing roughly 20.7% of the total women’s apparel market. (The Coresight estimate is for sizes 18 and over other estimates put the value higher.)
In August, Old Navy said it would every one of its women’s styles, in every size, with no price difference as part of its new “Bodequality” initiative.
Apparel retailer Altar’d State is also making a push into plus-sizes, with plans to launch freestanding stores.