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Despite the fact that they constitute a majority, larger women traditionally have meekly accepted the frumpy fashions foisted upon them by marketers of plus-size fashion, according to a new report from Packaged Facts available through MarketResearch.com, The U.S. Market for Plus Size Apparel. However, in the last ten years, college educations and high-paying jobs have helped boost self-esteem in this population, creating a confident and demanding consumer who knows what she wants. Today, as high profile plus-size celebrities and glossy magazines filled with size 14 models are gaining popularity, the tremendous market potential of plus-size clothing is finally getting attention. Total retail sales for plus-size items in the year 2000 reached almost $32 billion, or 30% of the women's clothing market, and major fashion houses have jumped to find attractive, fashion conscious options for the larger woman. The industry has a financially secure audience that has proven to be very brand loyal, as well as sales records that soar compared to other market segments. Exemplifying the current extraordinary market conditions for large-size clothing is the recent purchase by Charming Shoppes Inc. of plus-size powerhouse Lane Bryant from Limited Inc. last month for $335 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Market for Plus Size Apparel, provides detailed information about consumer demographics, as well as distribution and marketing trends, product development, and emerging retail campaigns. The report also includes historical sales data, as well as market projections through the year 2005. According to Meg Hargreaves, VP of Research Publishing for MarketResearch.com, the plus-size clothing industry is experiencing a long overdue period of extraordinary growth. "The women's plus-size apparel market comprises a considerable share of the overall U.S. women's apparel market," Ms. Hargreaves stated. "Nearly 30% of all women's apparel sales in 2000 were of plus-size items, and supply is still not on track to keep up with demand in coming years."
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