In a Move That Makes Sense to No One, H&M Removes Plus-Sizes from Its NYC Stores


Earlier this month, Revelist reported that H&M stopped carrying plus-sizes in many of its New York stores. Given that the average American woman’s dress size is between a 12 and 14, this can hardly be called the fast-fashion retail chain’s most strategic move.

Annual U.S. sales of women’s plus-size apparel rose 17 percent to $20.4 billion in 2016 (up from $17.4 billion in 2013). Experts say customer demand could push sales even further if retailers learned to embrace the plus-size category. While H&M still promises a complete plus-size collection on its e-commerce site, it’s hard to see how that could be enough to keep shoppers satisfied.

“H&M’s product range has grown in the past few years,” explained a spokesperson, when pressed regarding the decision. “Not all stores have room for all our fashion concepts. The assortment in the stores is evolving as we continuously assess the product mix, which is decided by each store’s specific pre-requisites when it comes to its size and the customers’ requests. We refer customers to our online store, which includes… a broader assortment.” As it’s already been pointed out, ‘lack of space’ is hardly a reason to get rid of heavily sought after sizes in one of the fashion capitals of the world.

We’re beginning to see a major shift in the messages consumers are willing to accept from brands and retailers. The notion of inclusivity is becoming a more important factor to a consumer making purchasing decisions – they’re no longer willing to simply play the hand they’re dealt. Ideally, a customer hoping to invest in a company’s wares shouldn’t have to ask themselves, “Do they carry anything in my size?”. Sizing has been a sore subject in the Apparel industry for far too long. Consumers – and even some brands – are ready to see change.

While clothing (and the models who wear them) are still being separated into ‘plus’ and ‘straight’ size, the body positivity movement has resulted in great strides towards the eventual merging of those two lines. In fact, H&M was applauded for their recent Fall ’16 campaign which starred prominent plus-size model Ashley Graham. The images marked the first time an H&M campaign featuring a plus-size model wasn’t promoting a plus size line alone.

Feels like one step forward, two steps back. Luckily, movements like the All Woman Project are working tirelessly to mitigate the problem. Featuring models of all shapes and sizes in their campaigns, the project is one of many hoping to help consumers, brands and retailers break out of the unnecessary mindset still prevalent in the majority of the Apparel industry.

Click below for some Hubba apparel brands who do a great job at being inclusive: