For this assignment, locate and read the case study on page 448 of your textbook, “Riding the Plus-Size Wave.” Once you have read and reviewed the case scenario, respond to the following questions, with thorough explanations and well supported rationale.
1. Explain the success that Lane Bryant is currently experiencing in relation to self-concept, self-esteem, and self consciousness. How can the plus-size industry leverage what we know about consumer behavior to address self esteem issues?
2. Discuss the real-world changes that appear to be occurring with respect to media images of women. What are the reasons for this? Compare this to the media images of men.
3. How do you reconcile the greater degree of acceptance of plus-size women with the parallel emphasis our society continues to place on thinness (as evidenced by the billions we spend on diet products, exercise and so on)? Given the health problems associated with obesity (heart disease, diabetes, etc.), should the industry continue to encourage this acceptance?
4. Assuming that Lane Bryant decided to take this globally, what is your recommendation with respect to identifying the correct marketing mix strategies (product, pricing, place, and promotion)?
Your response should be a minimum of three pages, double-spaced, excluding the cover and reference pages. References should include your textbook plus a minimum of one additional credible reference. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations, and cited per APA guidelines.
RIDING THE PLUS -SIZED WAVE
For years, Hollywood and the advertising media perpetuated a stereotypical image of women. As a result, many consumers have the unrealistic expectation that many women are (or should be) poreless, hipless, silken-haired, high-cheeckbones, size ), 20-year-old goddesses. But is this beauty myth finally changing? Companies like Ascena Retail group, parent to plus size retailer Lane Bryant, are doing their darndest to see that it does.
Lane Bryant was founded in 1900 in New York as the first women’s apparel retailer devoted excluslively to plus-sizes. In 2012 they were acquired by Ascena Retail Group, who believes that Lane Bryant’s iconic brand and market leadership will contribute to Ascena’s strategic plan for ongoing growth and profitability.
The future looks bright. The apparel industry defines plus-size as 14 and up-today that includes 62 percent of American women. According to one industry executive, “Peaople are more accepting of their bodies today, and I think there has been a positive influence with role models. Years ago, manufacturers were only interested in making low-end plus-size merchandise because they thought customers were always in transition. Now no longer.”
Lane Bryant is fighting this tide. With a new flagship store in New York City, the company sends the message that it’s not only OK to be plus-size, but that women in this category can be as stylish as anyone. Lane Bryant focuses on en vogue style previously available only to more modest sized shoppers. Their strategy also includes marketing the Cacique brand of plus-size lingerie, which is known for its appealing fit and fashion styling.
Lane Bryant’s sales hit $1 billion in 2012; other retailers are noticing this market and beginning to make a move. One of these companies, online retailerModCloth, reports that their plus-size customers tend to spend 25 percent more per order and they buy 17 percent more items per order than non plus-size customers.
Plus-size bloggers are grabbing the attention of other retailers who are also increasing their stakes in the game. H&M, Gap/Old Navy, Target, Land’s End, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s are among national retailers offering or expanding their assortments of plus size apparel and increasing promotional efforts for this category. In fact, H&M gained media attention recently by casting a size 12 model for a swimwear photo without labeling the photo with the term plus-size. With these industry changes, who knows what the images of women the media and the future will celebrate?
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