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Mary-Kate and Ashley Expanding at Wal-Mart

BOSTON — Wal-Mart is expanding its Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen franchise to outfit plus-sized girls.<br><br>The line, currently testing at stores, will roll out to 1,300 stores in the coming weeks and will be joined in the children’s...

BOSTON — Wal-Mart is expanding its Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen franchise to outfit plus-sized girls.

This story first appeared in the February 11, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The line, currently testing at stores, will roll out to 1,300 stores in the coming weeks and will be joined in the children’s department by Faded Glory girls’ plus sizes. The Mary-Kate and Ashley merchandise is currently mixed on racks with regular tween sizes, but with differentiating hangtags featuring a blue burst that reads “plus-size” and the slogan Real Sizes for Real Girls. The standard slogan is Real Fashion for Real Girls.

Judi Swartz, design director for Dualstar, the licensing and production company co-owned by the Olsen twins, said the plus-size designs will mirror those she already created for tweens, but will eventually get their own racks and floor space.

“This has been a missed market,” she said. “We’ve been getting e-mails from parents of kids who have wanted to wear the brand.”

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed Mary-Kate and Ashley licensed product ranks among the retailer’s most popular tween and teen merchandise and is available at nearly all Wal-Mart doors. Wal-Mart launched Mary-Kate and Ashley clothing in January 2001 and has been steadily extending its offering since.