Target and Walmart Leading the Fashion Industry


WWD | September 2, 2021


Big-box retailers such as Target, Walmart and even Costco are setting the pace for retailers in fashion when it comes to best practices and corporate responsibility measures. “The map of retailing has changed dramatically in the last few decades,” Gerald Storch, chief executive officer of Storch Advisors, a retail advisory firm and the former vice chairman of Target, told WWD. “The bulk of business is done through a very small number of retailers. And they call the shots.”


Since last year, both Target and Walmart said they would increase their floor wage to $15 an hour over time. This summer, Lululemon, Under Armour and Tapestry, parent to Coach and Kate Spade revealed plans to increase minimum wages to $15 an hour.


While many retailers continue to shutter stores, Target says it’s opening more — but in new, smaller formats. Express took the formula to heart, revealing plans to increase its Express Edit stores, with a smaller, more curated assortment in high-traffic areas.


Before the fitness boom kicked into overdrive, Target launched its popular All In Motion activewear line — which came in sizes XS to 4X for women, small to 3X for men, and XS to XXL for kids. Walmart rolled out Eloquii Elements in sizes 14 to 28 last fall adding activewear brand, PSK Collective earlier this year. Old Navy is just one national brand to follow suit, expanding its size range of women’s apparel to 0 up to size 28 in all stores, while dozens of other indie brands and start-ups are conforming to a new baseline of extended sizing.


Other terms where these retailers have led the pack further extends into offering vaccines in stores, giving incentives to those who receive the vaccine, offering to fund college tuition to eligible associates and elevating Black-owned brands in stores. All eyes are on these retailers, often criticized for not doing more, it causes competitors to at least examine their own policies.


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