The Michigan superstore Meijer Inc. will get rid of all the plus-size sections in its 230 stores by early next year. But it will still be selling plus-size clothes — they'll just be in the same place as everything else. The items will also be the same price, regardless of size, despite the common tendency for stores to charge more for bigger clothing. This inclusive approach to merchandizing launched quietly back in June at 15 of the retailer's locations. When Meijer began getting positive customer feedback, it decided to implement this in all locations, proving that yes, brands are listening to your comments, compliments, and complaints. Since plus-size customers tend to expect to shop in a separate section, shoppers initially assumed that Meijer had dropped those sizes altogether. To combat this issue, Meijer has implemented signs that read “Sizes For Everybody: S-3X." One customer, JoElla Saines, was so moved that she made a video detailing her positive experience. "Friends can now shop in the same section [at Meijer] and not have to leave each other during a shopping experience, avoiding embarrassment...it warms my heart to see this inclusion," Saines told Refinery29.
By early 2017, the retailer's remaining 215 locations will offer sizes S through 3X on the same racks. “We believe everyone should be able to shop the latest trends at the same price, regardless of what size they wear,” Michelle Krick, women's divisional merchandise manager, told Refinery29. “While we offer extended sizes in our plus department, the current shopping experience forces customers to shop in different areas of the store based on what size they wear — and we think it’s time to change that," she said. "We know shopping is often a social activity and with this change, friends and family members who walk into a Meijer store to shop together can do just that — no matter what size they wear.” While stores with plus-size sections may give a greater variety of people the opportunity to shop than those that only have straight sizes, this type of store layout still leaves much to be desired. Putting larger clothes in their own separate area implies that smaller clothing is the norm, when, in fact, it's not. According to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, the average American woman is a size 16 to 18, which most stores would consider plus-size.
Separating plus-size clothes from straight-size also encourages the view that they're optional, when they should be as widely available as any other size. This view can lead to a scarcity of options for people who want cute clothes that fit. Hopefully, by treating clothes of all sizes the same way, stores like Meijer can help end the stigma plus-size shoppers shouldn't have to feel. Tell us in the comments which companies you hope will follow in Meijer’s footsteps (and make sure you tell those brands, as well)!