On the heels of declining same-store sales that sparked additional store closings, Kmart is refusing to give up. The embattled retailer’s latest initiative focuses on plus-size apparel for women — a $20 billion market that has been overlooked by brands and investors alike.
Kmart has released a new 40-second ad spot on YouTube catering to a very promising source of consumers with a message of inclusivity and body positivity. Called “I Can,” the video features three plus-size models wearing items from the retailer’s collection and promises “amazing style for all.”
The retailer is also reportedly adding extended sizes up to 5X to its existing lines, including Joe Boxer, Basic Editions and Jaclyn Smith. This is an especially smart move that allows retailers to stand out from the competition without having to launch a new line from scratch. For the time being, Kmart is doing exactly that: It is “now the only U.S. retailer to extend the sizing in all of its apparel brands and product categories, including intimates, swimwear and even footwear in wider widths, Kelly Cook, chief marketing officer of the 432-store chain” told Forbes. And it’s not stopping at extending its size offerings. Citing customer feedback, the retailer is rebranding its plus-sized section to “fabulously sized” and is in the process of updating signage in stores nationwide. The retailer has not yet updated the category on its website.
According to Racked, 65% of American women wear a size 14 or larger. If the campaign resonates with enough women in that market, will it be enough to start turning things around and fueling store traffic and same-store sales? It will depend on speed, ease of access and, of course, selection, particularly with fall underway and the holiday shopping season upon us.