Note from Steve: Check out Amy's reaction to this story at Some Small Sense.
Fashion retailer said it will reestablish its petite women's department
Saks Fifth Avenue (New York), stung by the reaction of short women across the country, has said it will reestablish its petite women's clothing department, which the company had quietly dropped several months ago because of poor sales.
According to The New York Times, the decision -- a victory for millions of women shorter than 5-foot-4 -- came after Saks received scores of letters from smaller shoppers who complained that they could no longer find clothing that fit and that they felt alienated in a store that had dressed them for decades.
Beginning this fall, the company said, it would once again carry petite sizes from popular labels like Dana Buchman, Eileen Fisher and Lafayette 148.
Ellen Tracy, which ceased producing petite sizes after Saks eliminated its department, said yesterday that it would now re-enter the business for spring 2007.
Saks said that petite sizes would be carried in 32 of its 55 stores in November and that it would hold trunk shows around the country in October to welcome the petite clients back.
Andrew Jennings, president of Saks, said that the retailer "had heard loud and clear the expression of concern from shoppers" about the elimination of the petite department. Saks scrapped petite sizes, which generated $35 million a year, in January because it found that many shoppers preferred to buy clothes in the misses department - which is larger and offers a wider variety of fashions - and have garments tailored to fit their smaller proportions.
This time around, the retailer will try to inject more energy in petite clothes, emphasizing sportswear, knitwear and day dresses, rather than focusing heavily on classic-looking suits for work.
The decision further reflects the strategy of new ceo Stephen Sadove to recapture the business he felt the retailer lost under the leadership of Fred Wilson. Earlier this month, Saks announced it would revive the once-profitable, more conservative private label fashion merchandise Wilson got rid of. Critics said Wilson alienated older - and in this case, smaller - customers with his emphasis on skin-baring urban fashions.