Rue21 sees an opportunity in plus sizes, an underserved market.

Rue21 is adding plus sizes to 220 stores this year, bringing the total number of its locations selling plus sizes to 480.

Based in Warrendale, Pa., which is near Pittsburgh, Rue21 is adding a “fully-focused dedicated merchant team” for plus sizes and tripling the size of its West Coast buying office in the Los Angeles Fashion District to accommodate the expansion of the business. The fast-fashion retailer operates a total of 690 stores and rue21.com. The retailer has bolstered its team of merchants for plus sizes from three merchants to eight.

“As a leader in on-trend fashion at affordable prices, we have made the decision to strategically and aggressively expand Rue21’s collection of plus size clothes for teen girls and young women,” said Michael C. Appel, chief executive officer. He noted that the expanded team in the company’s L.A. office will be close to the more than 300 fast-fashion wholesalers and manufacturers based in the city.

“Plus is a ‘white space’ opportunity for Rue21 because few retailers offer on-trend fashion at great prices in the full range of sizes,” Appel said.

Retailers, brands and the media have been devoting more resources and attention to plus sizes and inclusiveness, though the large-size market is still considered underserved.

Rue21’s L.A. office, located in the Stanford Plaza, 810 East Pico Boulevard, is being expanded from 1,000 to 3,000 feet.

Rue21 offers sizes going up to 4x, including juniors’ tops, bottoms, dresses, distressed jeans, tanks, slouchy sweaters, lingerie and sleepwear.

 

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