Macy’s sales rose 1.8% in Q4 compared to the previous year, according to earnings released this morning. Among other factors, Macy’s attributed the good news to its push into plus-size clothing, which it sells more of than any other department store.
Plus-size apparel is a growing market. Revenue increased at double the rate of general apparel from 2013 to 2016, and the market is estimated to surpass $24 billion by 2020. As consumer apparel spending shifts online, Macy’s is investing in search visibility to back up its presence in the category.
During November and December 2017, L2 researchers found that Macy’s was visible on 62% of plus-size search terms, with 46% of that visibility being organic. In comparison, Target was visible on 36% of terms, while JCPenney was visible on 22% and Walmart was visible on only 4%.
Yet those competitors are not to be discounted, as they all recently announced plus-size and size-conscious private label drops. Target recently introduced a new line called Universal Thread, a denim-focused line that aims to provide merchandise for all body types. Walmart is allegedly going to be dropping a new plus-size line called Terra & Sky while phasing out some of its older offerings. And JCPenney has its own body-positive youth clothing line for all body types in partnership with Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez. If these retailers back up these launches with strong digital and traditional marketing, search engine optimization, and influencers, Macy’s will need to push to stay relevant in this category.