Meijer upgrades fashion offering

Meijer has upgraded its fashion offering to challenge national retailers in the apparel and accessories space.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer touts itself as a pioneer of the one-stop shopping concept, but it said in a release that it is best known for its produce and meat departments. The company, therefore, has taken steps to upgrade its fashion offerings, not only by stocking a variety of on-trend merchandise, but also creating a dedicated fashion website and launching a social media initiative to promote their upgraded apparel and accessories category.

"Restyling our fashion offerings is not only great for our customers, who are searching for on-trend fashion items at the right price, but it also enhances the Meijer promise of a one-stop shopping experience," said Peter Whitsett, EVP of merchandising and marketing at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer. "We knew our investment was sound over the holiday season when apparel realized a nearly 20% increase in sales."

Meijer’s style team is headed by Lynn Hempe, the retailer's group VP of softlines and includes fashion adviser Mariana Keros. The team put together a Fashion Look Book and helped create the new website,

"We want our customers to know that we are serious about offering the most up-to-date fashion in our stores," Hempe said. "Our goal is to find that just-right mix where affordability and on-trend fashion inspire our customers to recognize opportunities to update their day-to-day style."

Meijer will expand its focus on apparel this year with regional advertising in national fashion magazines, including Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Cosmopolitan and Elle, as well as the distribution of another Look Book that will feature spring trends.

To date, the company said it has seen improved sales in women's wovens, sweater dresses and leggings. Fleece and yoga pants drove women's active up 56% over last year. The company also reported a 19% increase in accessories, drive by cold weather accessories and sterling silver. The Men's department saw double-digit increases in all categories with active and work wear as the drivers, and supported by on-trend national brands like Carhartt, Dickies, Wolverine, Caterpillar and Asics.



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