Donnella Tilery

Donnella's Closet - Accessories Retailer & Fashion Correspondent
Jersey City, NJ

    Ann Taylor -Removing Size 16 from Stores - Try Branding Not Exclusion

    May 11, 2009

    Hello Savorettes!

    I recently read in several fashion business publications that Ann Taylor has decided to completely get rid of the size 16 from their stores.

    Their reasoning that its because the size is a "slow mover" in their stores.

    The downlow industry chatter is because they are cutting cost, since less fabric saves money.

    This struck me as interesting since you always read that the average size of American women is  around size 12 to size 16!

    Also whenever I attend attend a fashion show or retail networking event one topic that always seems to arise from one or two plus size retailers or designers is how no one has really addressed the needs of this particular market. 

    I wonder if this is a case study on the need to evaluate your brand for Ann Taylor?

    I've passed the stores and seen them quite empty as of late. I see lovely dresses but wonder if cutting away a size (no pun intended) is the long-term or rather short-term answer to their economy woes.

    I always thought Ann Taylor was a great consumer market, but needed major revamping as far as their style and color choices.

    More modernizing if you will; true, traditional looks are great, but the professional woman has changed and I believe Ann Taylor has not fully met this sort of change with their offerings.

     With Walmart and Target, offering designer looks at reasonable prices at varies sized even up to 18 and doing well, I can't believe that one size 16 will totally change your retail outlook.

    Whether you consider yourself full- figured or petite.  I don't think that is the issue.

    I think understanding what your market wants in a fashionable outfit is more the case.

    If you look at more expensive brands like Michael Kors or Diane Von Furstenberg, they reshaped their image but kept their essential style.

    I would suggest to Ann Taylor to think about this more than eliminating an entire share of women based on a stroke of pen in accounting.

     If its about cost cutting options, I can see getting rid of certain fabrics, shades or accessories, but to specifically determine 'size 16" is not a store must have certainly makes me question who is evaluating their customer types.

    With more options for fashionistas or recessionistas, I hope Ann Taylor will take another look at other ways to understand their buyers and their needs.

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