- Old Navy began selling women’s clothing in sizes XS through 4X.
- However, the move left customers frustrated and sales plummeted as the medium sizes sold out quickly.
- Old Navy accounts for the bulk of owner Gap’s sales and profits, the WSJ reported.
Last year, Old Navy decided to start selling clothing for women of all body shapes, but its good intentions left many customers frustrated, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Many stores are selling medium-sized items much faster than extra-small or extra-large ones, according to the newspaper.
That left the Gap-owned chain with two big problems: irritated customers who can’t find what they want in their size, and the stock it has to cut to sell.
One Old Navy client, 26-year-old speech therapist Sydney Bassard, told the Journal: “I’m not necessarily the thinnest. Sometimes it’s hard to find clothes that aren’t tight. I have to look at through a lot of sizes and then my size is not available.”
Another customer, Nicole Cueto, said she has struggled to find her size for the past few months. “They mostly have larger sizes and sell small sizes,” she told the Journal. “It’s super frustrating.”
Nancy Green, CEO of Old Navy, told Vogue last year: “After intensive research where we spent time listening, learning and walking in the shoes of our customers, it was clear that there was an opportunity to do more to meet their needs and ensure that every woman sees herself in our brand.”
She said the BODEQUALITY initiative has transformed its operations and reinforced the chain’s “belief in style democracy”.
The Gap-owned retailer accounts for far more of the company’s sales and profits than the Gap and Banana Republic chains.
According to The Journal, Don Howard of Alvanon, who works with brands and retailers on sizing and fit, the average American woman is now size 18, down from size 14 just 5 years ago.
Old Navy would have counted on National Center for Health Statistics data to develop its inclusive sizing as well as its own research. The Center found that women aged 20 and over weighed an average of 170.8 pounds in 2016.
The company scanned nearly 400 female bodies to create digital avatars and build new fit blocks for sizes 20 to 28.
Clothing brands have long tried to provide sizes for all morphologiesto like Good American, Veronica Beard or Universal Standard. But other big names like Victoria’s Secret have also embraced size inclusion in add more rangesThe Journal reported.
Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg told the newspaper’s Future of Everything festival on Wednesday: “If you’re a size 2 and if you’re a size 16, you’re not using the same amount of fabric.”
She added: “You also don’t want to penalize the little people [who would be] pay more because the price must be the same. It can be very controversial to talk about it. But I think it’s important.”