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Sales of Plus-Size Clothes Grew 5% Over Last 12 Months

Could bigger sales numbers translate to more options?

Good news for the plus-size market: According to a report from the NPD Group, the category grew 5 percent over the last year, generating $17.5 billion in sales from April 2013 to April 2014.

The plus-size market has been steadily gaining ground on its straight-size counterpart (which grew 4 percent last year, also per NPD). Earlier this year, leading plus-size retailer Lane Bryant launched a collaboration with designer Isabel Toledo and announced a lingerie collaboration with Sophie Theallet will follow. Fast-fashion plus-size brand Eloquii was revived by its fans after being shuttered by The Limited. With better and more trendy options, it's not surprising that sales of plus-size garments to the 18-24 age group grew 27 percent since April 2012, from $850 million to $1.1 billion, and that the 25-34 age group increased 11 percent in the past year alone.

The 55-64 year-old consumer group still led in sales, accounting for $4.2 billion, a 9 percent increase from 2013. Conversely, the 13-17 age group fell by 11 percent, and the 45-54 age group fell by 8 percent. E-commerce saw the lion's share of growth, with a 31 percent increase over the last year.

Interestingly, the study defines plus size as sizes 18 and up; within the fashion industry, plus-size is anything above a size 12, which could mean these numbers likely clock in substantially higher. With bigger sales numbers, perhaps more retailers could be drawn to producing more size runs.

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