Retail Therapy: First Wet Seal store to carry only plus sizes opening in Clovis

The Fresno BeeSeptember 28, 2013 

Wet Seal carries accessories, including plus-sized belts and wide-width boots. Wet Seal+ (plus) store in Clovis special to the bee

SPECIAL TO THE BEE

The new Wet Seal store in Clovis will be the first in the nation to carry only plus sizes.

The teen retailer is gearing up to open the new store Wednesday in the Clovis Crossing Regional Shopping Center at Herndon and Clovis avenues. The store, called Wet Seal+, will carry plus-size pencil skirts, tube dresses, camouflage cardigans and other clothing in Wet Seal's plus-size collection for young women. It will include wide-width boots and belts.

The company chose Clovis because the area is a "proven market" for Wet Seal, the CEO said in a statement.

The retailer, which is usually located in malls, has upped its plus-size offerings lately. Such sizes were once available online only. Wet Seal announced in August that it would begin carrying plus sizes in 36 stores.

Incidentally, this isn't the first time Wet Seal has ventured outside the mainstream. It recently held a fashion shoot with a teen model with Down syndrome.

Opening a plus-size-only store is ground-breaking in that an existing chain retailer is creating a whole new category of stores (though malls have had stores such as Torrid and Lane Bryant for years).

But it's also a no-brainer when it comes to who is spending money on clothes.

Shoppers have long been frustrated at the lack of plus-size options in stores, despite the fact that the average American woman is a size 14, according to Plunkett Research. Half of American women wear a mix of standard and plus sizes, a study by online retailer ModCloth.com found.

And while skinny, tall models still dominate images in the fashion world, plus-size clothing is a $14 billion to $17 billion industry that keeps growing.

Wet Seal has not released many details of its new store, including exactly what sizes it will carry. However, the stores that carry plus-size clothing have tops, bottoms, jeans, dresses and jackets in sizes 1X to 3X, and bottom sizes 14 to 24. The clothing is in the same designs as the smaller sizes.

The store, located next to Sleep Train, will hold a grand opening with gifts and a 20% off sale from 4-9 p.m. Oct. 11.

 

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.

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