Date of Award

8-9-2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Retailing

First Advisor

Marianne Bickle

Abstract

The plus-size female U.S. consumer accounts for 28% of the apparel purchasing power. They are a disgruntled group of women who state that fashion retailers do not understand their clothing needs. Additionally, there is a limited amount of information on how this demographic is affected by the environment of a retail store. The purpose of this study is to examine the attributes of mainstream retail clothing store shopping environments which affect the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of plus-size female consumers which include: (a) Crowding, (b) Mannequins, (c) Clothing Availability, (d) In-Store Signage, (e) Sales Associates, and (f) Fitting Rooms. Results of the study reveal that clothing availability, spatial ambiance, and mannequins significantly influence plussize women’s level of satisfaction with the store’s shopping environment. Sales associates and human crowding were also found to significantly influence their level of satisfaction with the human environment of the store. These findings add to the limited research on plus-size women’s satisfaction. In addition, they solidify the importance of clothing availability as the key issue surrounding plus-size women’s needs and wants in a retailer, and that this need continues to be unsatisfied.

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