Wednesday, July 9, 2014

J. Crew’s XXXS {not vanity sizing, made for Asia}

I can hear some of you now. "Alexis, another article on XXXS? Ugh." This will be the last one for awhile, promise! ;)

The following is an article from ABC's Good Morning America (click here to read in its entirety and to watch a related video):
J.Crew’s New XXXS Isn't 'Vanity Sizing,' It's Made for Asia
By Susanna Kim
July 8, 2014

Both fans and foes of J.Crew are abuzz this week about J.Crew's new size: XXXS or 000. Who would want to wear a XXXS, which fits someone with a waist size of 23 inches? A lot of untapped customers in Asia, according to the apparel company.

The privately-owned retailer said it extended additional sizing to accommodate customer demand primarily coming from their market in Asia -- Hong Kong in particular.

J.Crew's online sizing chart lists a range of clothing that includes size 16, petites, tall, shoe sizes from 5 to 12, and special swim sizes for long and short torsos, D-cups and more.

...Some marketing experts call J.Crew's new size a savvy business move.

Retail expert Jennifer Black, CEO and president of Jennifer Black & Associates, said many retailers tend to stock smaller sizes in low numbers as it is. She applauds more options for consumers and said J.Crew's reasoning to appeal to customers in Asia is not surprising.

"We feel like the retailers in general never make enough in small sizes. What stocks out first when an item is hot are sizes 0 to 4," said Black, who is 5'5". "I’m a 00 at [Ann Taylor] Loft in pants. Then I wonder what really small people do. They don’t have a whole lot of options," she said.

If J.Crew were to really support "vanity sizing," the company would have slowly shifted its sizing chart larger, such that customers would believe they are wearing smaller sizes. But Black said that would be impractical from a business perspective.

"They would have to re-size the whole wardrobe, which I would doubt they would do. People order the same size and it would be too big. The only thing you don’t want to do is go the other way: that's like the kiss of death."

Gigi Ganatra Duff, vice president of public relations and communications at HSN Inc., said she applauds J.Crew's move, if it provides options for more body types.

... "The real marketing win is not in the size number but the number of sizes," Duff said.

"Thanks!" to Ina Mack (in this post) who originally mentioned this last Monday in her comment ("I heard from Ema,that the 000 is made for the Ladies in Hong Kong.")

Also, "thanks!" to a "J.Crew spokesperson" who shared the following:
...we extended additional sizing to accommodate customer demand primarily coming from our Hong Kong/ Asia market.  This has nothing to do with vanity sizing and accounts for the smallest percentage of our overall sizing assortment. As Im sure you know, we also offer size 16, petites, tall, size 5 and 12 shoe  sizes as well as special swim sizes (long and short  torsos, D-cup, etc) also introduced based on demand.
So now we finally know J.Crew's official reasoning behind the introduction of the XXXS size. I wonder if the new size will be available only overseas, or in all J.Crew markets.

Since J.Crew introduces sizes based on demand, I thought it would be interesting to hear what JCAs think should be a new offering at J.Crew, if any.

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you think there should be a new size offering at J.Crew? if so, what would you like to see?