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The ‘Curve’ market (women sized 14 and up) is a bright spot in today’s fairly glum retail operating environment. Say what you may about the challenges of designing for different sizes, the potential reach (namely 65% of the US market) should be incentive enough to make this market empirically attractive.

With more players moving into this space and existing brands extending their collections to be more size-democratic, we want to take a look at the state of the Curve industry and how its e-commerce component is performing. We took 3 buckets of Curve retailers: fast fashion, mid-tier, and premium department stores, and assessed how they stack up in assortment, discounting, and sell-through.


With depth and breadth of assortment ranging from intimates to swimwear at mid-tier department stores, it's not surprising to see their Curve SKU representation is highest amongst the three retail channels. Where the opportunity clearly lies, however, is in the fast fashion and premium channels. While Asos has quickly become an industry benchmark for creating on-trend designs for the Curve market, there is clearly still a gap in the quantity of offerings out there amongst other fast fashion retailers. The same follows for premium brands. This month's NYFW highlighted the growing utilization of Curve models and designs, which will continue to aid in building both editorial and market credibility.

Discounting tells an interesting story as well. It is generally most aggressive in volume and amount at mid-tier department stores, yet sell-through rates fail to reflect a corresponding impact. Needless to say, this is a very relevant and (painfully) recurring theme for mid-tier brands and retailers.

It's worthwhile to look at how a dedicated Curve brand performs relative to brands who operate across the size spectrum. Here we explore in more detail a dedicated Curve brand's performance.
graph This level of sell-through indicates that focus on great design, an edited assortment, and an appropriate discounting cadence can keep consumers engaged in your offering.

Want to know more about the Curve market and how to position your brand? Talk to us @ hello@stylesage.co

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