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Asos taps into plus-size market

Asos has launched plus-size range Asos Curve in an attempt to take a slice of the £3.7bn plus-size market.

Asos Curve went live on the website last week. The trend-led range includes jersey tops, tailoring, knitwear and outerwear in sizes 20 to 26.

Asos Curve has its own landing page on the main Asos site.

Prices of the Curve collection are in line with the main range. Vests start at £6 with dresses about £35 and the most expensive piece a £100 leather biker jacket.

According to research specialist Mintel, the plus-size market - comprising sizes 18-plus - is worth about £3.7bn and is expected to balloon to £4.3bn by 2013 - or 19% of the total market.

The growth rate of spend in the plus-size womenswear market is expected to continue to outperform the growth rate on total womenswear.

Arcadia-owned Evans and New Look’s Inspire sub-brand all aim to cater for the trend-led plus-size market. H&M also has a range for larger sizes.

Maureen Hinton, lead analyst at retail research firm Verdict, said the fact that the Asos Curve offer was sold online would give it a competitive edge.

“It is often easier to sell a plus-size brand to the older woman but Asos has a good fashion name that will attract younger people. Clothing retailers need to be expanding their offer beyond sizes 10 to 14 to get growth.”

She added: “Bigger women don’t always want to be categorised as different, they often just want to buy the same product but in bigger sizes.”

Hinton said the fact that Asos Curve is an online proposition would give it an advantage with shoppers keen to avoid any perceived stigma attached to shopping in plus-size stores on the high street.

Home-shopping group N Brown Group has found a very successful niche in the home-shopping market for plus-size men’s and women’s fashion with brands including Simply Be and Fifty Plus, which cater for the older and larger customer.

In the 42 weeks to January 17, Asos’s sales grew 38%, with its UK sales growing 25% year on year and its burgeoning international business up 102%.

An Asos spokeswoman said the initial reaction to the Asos Curve range had been “pleasing”.

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