Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Plus Size Category Still Out-Performing Apparel Average

Shira Petrack
March 15, 2022
Plus Size Category Still Out-Performing Apparel Average

We analyzed foot traffic trends for leading plus size retailers - Torrid, Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, and Destination XL - to find out where the brick and mortar plus size apparel category stands two years into the COVID pandemic. 

Comeback from a Rough 2020

The pandemic dealt a mixed hand to the plus-size apparel sector. Ascena Retail Group, owner of plus size apparel brands Catherines and Lane Bryant, filed for bankruptcy. As a result, Catherines permanently shuttered its brick and mortar business to focus exclusively on its online store, and Lane Bryant announced the permanent closure of over 150 stores. On the menswear front, Destination XL managed to avoid bankruptcy while sustaining some heavy losses. 

Towards the end of 2020, however, prospects for plus-size brick and mortar apparel stores were looking up. Sycamore Partners, which already owned Torrid, purchased Lane Bryant in December 2020, guaranteeing the brand’s continued physical presence. Destination XL reported seeing significant improvements in in-store sales by mid-March 2021. And the ultimate expression of the plus-size category’s comeback came on July 1st 2021 with Torrid’s IPO.

Strong Finish to 2021 

By the second half of last year, the category was on steady ground. Foot traffic data from the last six months of 2021 shows that visits to Destination XL, Torrid, and Ashley Stewart increased every month compared to the equivalent month in 2019. The three brands finished the year strong with 6.4%, 7.8%, and 12.5% monthly visit increases for Destination XL, Torrid, and Ashley Stewart, respectively, compared to December 2019. And while visits did dip slightly in the new year – likely due to the Omicron surge – Yo2Y foot traffic trends for all three retailers still outperformed the nationwide apparel average in both January and February of 2022.

Ashley Stewart, Torrid, and Destination XL target vastly different markets. Ashley Stewart’s core shoppers are African American women; Torrid appeals to a younger demographic, with a focus on women aged 25 to 40; and Destination XL carries big and tall men’s clothing. The fact that all three have succeeded in posting such strong foot traffic numbers and beating the apparel average speaks to the potential of the plus size apparel market in 2022 and beyond.

Lane Bryant’s Rightsizing Paying Off

Lane Bryant saw a massive store fleet reduction in 2020 as the brand permanently closed over 150 stores. And since there were fewer Lane Bryant stores to visit, the brand’s Yo2Y foot traffic count also plummeted. But comparing the average number of visits per Lane Bryant store in 2019 and 2021 shows that this plus size pioneer’s right sizing is paying off.

Although overall foot traffic is down, Lane Bryant’s remaining locations have been getting more monthly visits on average than they were two years ago: the brand’s Yo2Y average visits per venue were up by double digits almost every month last year, capping off a strong 2021 with a 23.2% Yo2Y increase in average visits per venue. 

So far, the growth is continuing into 2022, despite the Omicron-induced retail downturn, with Yo2Y visits per venue up 6.1% and 4.2% in January and February, respectively. These metrics reveal that there is still a healthy demand for physical Lane Bryant stores, and if the brand succeeds in sustaining another year of 2021-level visit per venue growth, Lane Bryant may even consider adding a couple more stores to its now diminished store fleet. 

For more data-driven retail insights, visit our blog.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
widget test
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective
Moving the Market: The Impact of Domestic Migration on Housing Costs
Post-Pandemic Museum Update
The Darden-est Things
The Enduring Demand for Urban and Suburban Retail
Leveraging Data to Evaluate the Impact of Municipal Investments
Trader Joe's Success Amidst Food Inflation and Changing Consumer Behavior Office Index: May 2023 Recap
Fitness at its Fittest: Staying Strong in 2023
Movie Theaters, Off-Price, and Home Improvement: May 2023 Recap Mall Index - May 2023 Recap
What’s Working for Bath & Body Works?
Why Are Specialty Grocers Thriving in 2023?
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap