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Cranberry-based retailer rue21 expands plus-size clothing

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    August 15, 2021 11:43 PM EDT

    Cranberry-based retailer rue21 expands plus-size clothing options

    As many retailers scale back due to COVID-19, Cranberry-based retailer rue21 is expanding its clothing options to make its merchandise more size inclusive.Get more news about cheap Plus Size Dresses for women,you can vist!

    The retailer, which caters to shoppers ages 15-25, announced earlier this month that it’s converting space within 36 stores — including its East Coast flagship in The Mall at Robinson — to add special sections for plus-size styles. About 65% of its more than 650 stores will now offer clothes in sizes XS through 4X.

    Growing its plus-size fashion inventory has become a priority for rue21. In December, the retailer hired Candace Kearney, a retail veteran from plus-size clothing chain Torrid, to lead its plus-size and dress categories. It’s also built a plus-size team based in Los Angeles. Junior apparel merchants used to handle plus-size buying for rue21.

    “It’s a known big initiative for us,” said chief merchandising officer Catherine Morisano. “We’ve really focused internally and externally on this customer to ensure they have a good shopping experience, that the product is available at more locations and also the focus on fit.”

    The plus-size section includes some of the same styles offered in straight junior sizes. To ensure a good fit, the plus-size garments have wider straps, larger waistbands and higher backs on top to make them more bra-friendly. and stores with plus-size sections also feature swimwear, denim shorts, jeans, activewear and graphic tees with popular prints. The retailer plans to increase its plus-size choices during this year’s back-to-school season, too.Despite the retail challenges posed by the pandemic, rue21 went ahead with its plus-size expansion and store openings.

    “We had already detailed out these phases,” Morisano said. “We were very lucky, and we were probably one of the only [retailers] who opened three stores last summer and we converted 130 stores [to include plus-size sections] over the course of the last 12 months.

    “COVID didn’t speed things up, but it thankfully didn’t slow them down either.”

    Activewear, joggers and other work-from-home clothing has been popular during the pandemic. As summer nears and restrictions relax in some states, Morisano said she’s seen an uptick in searches for and sales of cute-and-casual tops, leggings, dresses and denim.

    For shoppers who’d like support finding their perfect fit, store associates have been trained to lend a helping hand and an expert eye. Morisano said rue21 relies on feedback from store associates and shoppers’ comments on social media to learn what they want and how they can best serve them.