Joe Fresh, the Loblaw-owned clothing company, announced Tuesday that it will add plus-size clothing to its lineup beginning with its fall collection.
Womenswear will be available in sizes 0 to 22 and XS to 3X, up from the current upper size limit of 14 and XL. The new designs will include floral pieces and moto jackets. The new offerings launch online and in stores on Aug. 11.
“As our brand continues to evolve, we are committed to providing our customers with products that suit their needs while delivering the same style and value,” Ian Freedman, president of Joe Fresh, said in a statement.
“Overall, it’s a good move, I think,” said Bruce Winder, co-founder and partner at Retail Advisors Network.
“It recognizes the changing nature of customers in society, and it also sort of sends a message that you don’t have to be rail-thin to be stylish, which is really important these days.”
Winder cautioned that the company will need to test the market before jumping in completely.
“They just have to watch their inventory management practices to make sure they understand how big the market is before they buy into it too much,” he told CBC News’ Meegan Read.
Doug Stephens, CEO of Retail Prophet, didn’t see the Joe Fresh announcement as much of a surprise.
“If anything, I think they’re late to the party.” he said, adding that almost every manufacturer is catering to larger-size customers.
Specialty retailers, including Addition Elle, Penningtons and recent market entrant Torrid all cater to full-figured women.
Joe Fresh said that all sizes will have the same price, a move that Winder applauded, saying it would have been insulting to charge customer for plus-size clothing.