What do you believe is most important to the average customer; fit, price, style, or quality of workmanship? Which one do you believe is the greatest cause of customer returns?

Assignment 3 – Assignment – Sizing

Read the following case study and then answer the questions following. Be sure to answer each question as completely as possible (one or two sentences is not sufficient). Attach your work in a Word document with your name included. Submission should be at least one full page in length.

The Sizing Problem

Pam Lewis, the owner of the up-scale Pam’s Place in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire, had just entered what was to be the last vendor’s showroom on her first day of this year’s Dallas Apparel Market. She was excited about what she had seen that day and was already looking forward to a relaxing dinner with her former college roommate and the next two days of buying. This last vendor was new to Pam, but she had heard other buyers saying wonderful things about it at the food court earlier that afternoon. Since it was near one of her Class A vendors, she decided to stop by.

Upon entering the showroom, Pam uttered her usual “What’s new” to the manufacturer’s sales rep.

“Depends on how important it is to you to make your customers very happy,” was the quick reply. The salesperson then ushered Pam over to a display carrying slacks which featured a new fit technology. The key was the realization that a size 10 45 to 55 year-old women doesn’t have the same shape as a size 10 25-year-old. Based on this fact, a new sizing system, called Fitlogic, is being used by the manufacturer. It is based on three body shapes that represent the most common female figures: straight silhouette, curvy, and pearlike. These shapes are labeled 1, 2, and 3. Thus the vendor show Pam three different size 12 slacks, (12.1, 12.2, 12.3), one for each body shape.

The salesperson went on to explain that for women in the over 35 crowd, 40 percent are a 1 shape, 20 percent are 3s, and only 20 percent are a 2 shape, the silhouette currently used as the standard for sizing.

Pam remembered recently seeing the developer of this system on television discussing why she thought it would revolutionize the way baby boomer women would purchase clothing. She even recalled an article in a trade journal about how a television shopping network, QVC, had great success with this concept. Still, she realized that the variety which would make the concept so appealing to her customers — multiple versions of the same size, each tailored to their body shape — would make it so unappealing to her as a buyer. After all, if she adopted the system for this line, she would have three times the number of items. They would require more display space and create a greater risk of future markdowns. It was a breadth versus depth issue to Pam because carrying the extra sizes would mean she would have to drop some other merchandise. Thus Pam, despite liking the fashions she saw in the showroom, was undecided as she left to meet her ex-roommate, Pat Marion, for dinner.

That night over dinner Pam described her day, especially this new fit technology. Then it hit her that there might be something to the system when Pat started telling her about her troubles in taking back some clothes that didn’t fit her correctly. They were either too tight or too loose. Pam remembered something said on that television show about as women age, they not only change sizes but shapes. Twenty-five years ago, while in college, Pam and Pat were both a size 8 and often exchanged clothes. Now they were both size 12 but their shapes entirely different. Maybe if she was able to offer a better fitting line of clothing, not only would sales increase but customer returns would decrease. Pam decided that she would revisit the showroom first thing the next morning and get more information about this sizing system.


1. What do you believe is most important to the average customer; fit, price, style, or quality of workmanship? Which one do you believe is the greatest cause of customer returns?

2. Is this really a breadth versus depth issue?

3. Should Pam adopt this new sizing system? Explain your reasoning.

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