Target is cashing in on a demographic most retailers ignore

Target AVA + VIVTargetTarget’s AVA + VIV spring collection.

Target has an opportunity to attract an up-and-coming demographic.

The affordable department store is capitalising on the very lucrative plus-size market.

This past spring, Target broke ground by launching a plus size line, AVA + VIV.

The brand called upon influential plus-size style bloggers Gabi Gregg Nicolette Mason, and Chastity Garner-Valentine for their input and to model for the collection.

“I was lucky enough to visit their headquarters in Minneapolis to preview the Spring collection and give my feedback about both the collection and the general state of plus size fashion,” Gregg wrote on her blog in January.

 Now, the three bloggers will return for the fall line, reports Racked.

 Gregg, Mason, and Garner-Valentine.

“We gave wish lists of things we wanted to see, gave our own personal insight on how individual styles could be improved, and shared fit and production notes from the spring collection – and of course, we also had the opportunity to share all the feedback we received from you, our community,” Mason wrote on her blog this month.

The reception to the initial spring 2015 line was lukewarm.

“Meh,” said writer Lindsay Louise on Jezebel,  summing up the line. “To me the new AVA + VIV line is just more of the same of what I’ve come to expect of plus-size clothing. For the most part designers seem to think that all we plus-size ladies deserve is basics and that we should be happy to even get anything.”

But by giving the line a second go-round with more input from plus size women, the line may perform better.

By simply offering larger sizes, Target is tapping into a hugely profitable market.

A survey executed by Paradigm for Modcloth last year unearthed that more women wear size 16 than they do sizes 0, 2, and 4 combined; more than 50% of women total shop wear at least some clothing in size 16+. 80% of these women said they would spend more money on clothing if the clothes they found were flattering.

The survey also revealed that 65% of women agreed with the statement, “The retail industry ignores the needs of plus size women.”

74% of plus-size women expressed “frustration” when clothing shopping.

Some women have gone so far as to create petitions for retailers like Victoria’s Secret to sell larger sizes.

Online retailer Modcloth has expanded its plus size offerings, and Chief Creative Officer Susan Koger expressed shock when she learned how unwilling many of Modcloth’s vendors were unwilling to offer plus-size options. “The hesitation [from vendors] was surprising to me as a business person because I see an opportunity to sell a lot more clothing,” she said to Business Insider in 2013.

Modcloth plus size modelModclothA Modcloth model. Modcloth supports selling plus size options for women.

Should a retailer like Target decide to cater to these women’s needs, they could find themselves in a very fruitful market.

But even if Target doesn’t  listen to women’s desires, the line could still do well. Given the slim pickings for plus size women, it’s plausible that plus-size women will continue to shop at Target.

As Louise wrote for Jezebel when reviewing the line’s spring collection, “At the end of the day, Target is still one of the few stores where plus size women can actually go try on clothes. Even though most of the best stores are online now, it’s reassuring that in an emergency, there are Targets across the country with basics available in your size.”

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