By  on April 11, 2005

NEW YORK — Avon Products Inc. is entering the plus-size business with a full range of innerwear bearing the Avon Style Plus label.

The plus-size lingerie, which includes bras, daywear, sleepwear, at-homewear and robes, is featured in a 16-page Avon Style Plus brochure — 16 million will be mailed this month.

The new plus-size lingerie has also been integrated into Avon’s 154-page catalogue, a move that will give Avon’s 600,000 sales representatives in North America an opportunity to leverage the full assortment of products, said Renée Peerman, director of apparel and accessories at Avon. In addition to Canada, the line will be sold by representatives in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

While the $7.7 billion Avon has offered branded lingerie in the past from names such as Warner’s, Scaasi at-homewear and Natorious by Josie Natori, the plus-size launch is an expansion of the company’s Avon Style franchise, which has grown during the past decade to include average-size intimates, casualwear, key item tops and layering pieces. The Avon Style Plus introduction “redefines the plus-size business by shifting from a one-style-fits-all to customized fit for style for the plus woman,” Peerman said.

Peerman said Avon saw tremendous potential for plus-size lingerie based on marketing research with NPD Fashionworld, which examined the wants and needs of 5,000 full-figured consumers. Fifty-two percent of American women are over size 14, she said.

“What the majority said they were looking for in their apparel needs was a good fit,” Peerman said. “Whether a high price point or a low price point, fit was very important. Quality followed, then price. They said they enjoyed the idea of shopping in their own home, an intimate setting, and that’s how we got the idea for [plus-size] lingerie parties at home.”

Peerman said representatives can stage at-home lingerie parties with a customer base of friends, family, co-workers and church and business groups. The Avon Style Plus brochure suggests displaying garments in a variety of styles around a room, preparing a comfortable changing room, putting on a mini fashion show and offering a raffle prize of Avon products with an entry for each garment ordered.

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