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Vexing Issues: Size and Fit


More than half of female shoppers are finding it increasingly difficult to find clothes that fit and flatter them. And, making matters even more frustrating, inconsistent sizing across brands and retailers is forcing a large number of women to shop multiple departments or size ranges.

Those are among the insights in Retail Forward’s most recent Soft-goods Shopper Update, whose survey data suggests that nearly one-fifth of women own clothes that they cannot wear because they never had them altered. Other highlights include:

Shoppers are less likely to be aware of positive changes to apparel merchandise mix. While consolidation among traditional department stores and the rollout of several new private brands at key retailers brought about changes in the merchandise mix in 2006, shoppers’ perception of positive changes in fit, style, quality and value are lower today than in prior years, according to Retail Forward.

“With respect to fit issues, only Kohl’s and Target were cited by a larger share of shoppers than in prior years as having made noticeable changes,” said Kelly Tackett, senior consultant and apparel analyst with Retail Forward; and

Shoppers are less likely to alter apparel budgets. More than 40% of female primary household shoppers surveyed say they are not spending more of their household clothing budget at any particular retailer. Younger shoppers and more affluent ones tend to be more willing to reallocate their clothing budgets among retailers.

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