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    Creating plus-size style

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    A plus-size brand launched in 2005, ‘aLL – A Little Larger’ format has managed to carve a niche for itself in the plus-size clothing category. aLL houses a wide array of ready-to-wear fashionable western and ethnicwear and accessories that are otherwise not easily available for brand conscious plus-size customers. Highlighting the brand’s origin, Manish Aziz, Chief – aLL informed that the rationale behind aLL was to treat plus-size customers as any regular size customers and make the same variety of fashion merchandise available to them.

    Moreover, data from a recent study suggest that 46 million people are overweight in India, which means 46 million people would need to wear plus size clothing. This is a huge number in terms of potential for readymade players. The potential is immense and taking this into account, many well-known brands are foraying into the plus size arena.

    Market evolution

    Plus-size fashion has evolved tremendously in the last couple of years. Highlighting the market growth, Manish Aziz, Chief of aLL quoted: “In the last 5 years it has doubled to US$ 1.8 billion and is expected to be double in the next 4 years.”

    He also shared that demand for plus-size fashion depends on the awareness and presence created by brands. “Some of our best stores are in tier-II cities like Indore, Baroda and Lucknow, and they are buying high fashion designs and silhouettes,” he said.

    Footprint and product portfolio

    The company is operating in categories like women’s ethnicwear, westernwear and denims, men’s casualwear, denims and formals. Also, every season they introduce new fashion product lines. For instance, in Spring/Summer ’14 the company introduced hot shorts for women, which was a complete sell-out.

    Aziz shared that in Autumn/Winter ’14, they launched party dresses for women. aLL is retailed through 43 EBOs and Central and Brand Factory. Also, they plan to take the online medium soon. The price range at aLL starts from Rs. 399 and goes up to Rs. 3,499, depending on the product.

    Women’s mix-n-match and westernwear are two products cateogories that have worked the best for the brand so far. The company is planning to extend their product portfolio by including ranges like women’s lingerie, men’s accessories and undergarments, men’s blazers, women’s party dresses, etc.

    Promotional strategies

    Offering from , the biggest retail group in India, is a big promotion in itself. Aziz highlights: “Also we have been retailing through Central and Brand Factory with a good visibility. Our name is always highlighted in Fashions bouquet of brands.”

    aLL is getting support in terms of in-store promotions of other Future Group formats. Additionally, ATL is done in a big way for the brand.

    Merchandising

    As per the demography of the customers, the company does work around its assortment for that particular city. For instance, women’s ethnicwear sells more in Mangalore and Chennai as compared to women’s westernwear.

    Customer satisfaction strategy

    “The biggest challenge is to get a correct fit while launching a new fashion silhouette,” revealed Aziz. To counter this concern, the company takes a real-time trial feedback from their regular customers and decides a final fit based on that the same.

    The company does not offer DIY but if a customer wants certain changes they do get it altered.

    Creating a difference

    “We try to differentiate ourselves on two parameters. One, by providing outstanding customer service where we take up different initiatives like offering home delivery, taking customer feedback before launching a new product, inviting them for store openings, anniversaries, etc. and two, by giving topmost priority to product quality and offering fashion products as per the trend unlike other retailers who try to play safe by not experimenting in fashion,” said Aziz.

    Expansion plans

    Aziz says they plan to grow pan India since they believe that plus-size customers are across the markets. Hence, the company is planning to increase its store count in metros as well as tier-II and -III cities.

    “Some of the non-metro cities where we wish to expand are Patna, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Raipur, Allahabad, Amritsar, Meerut, Calicut, Coimbatore, Cochin, Vizag, Vijayawada, Bhopal, Nagpur, Rajkot, Surat, etc.,” he added.

    E-commerce strategy

    The company has just launched a website called www.allonlinestore.in, and would start transactions from next month. The company also plans to start selling through Amazon from next month.