Evaluation of sizing provision among high street retailers and consumer buying practices of children's clothing in the UK
Tongue, M. A.
Cassidy, T. D.
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Purpose – Since anthropometric dimensions vary during a lifetime, it is difficult to provide adequate sizing for all, especially growing, children. This paper aims to review children's sizing provision for girls aged 4‐8 years among four UK retailers (Adams, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Mothercare), an area of limited research. Design/methodology/approach – Two research strategies were utilised: observational visits to retail stores (on sizing systems and environment) and face‐to‐face interviews with ten parents and five childrenswear garment technologists (on sizing of children's garments and fit issues). Findings – UK retailers utilised various numerical size coding systems based on height, age and weight. Next, Asda George and Adams were the favourite shopping stores for children's wear. Parents were co‐shoppers with their children. While parents' key criteria for purchase were durability, fit, quality, price and washability, children's choice was based on colour, fashion and peer influence. Variation in sizing designation caused confusion. Parents have suggested varying lengths as a solution to accommodating different sizes; preferring a common system with age as key size code. Sizing inconsistency between brands and incomprehensible size codes are major factors in the creation of customer dissatisfaction with children's clothing. Providing ambient facilities for co‐shopping is vital. Research limitations/implications – The children's fashion sector is important to children, parents and retailers. Parents are co‐shoppers with their children and have key criteria for selecting to shop in a store. Marketers should be aware of core needs: sizing provision, shopping environment and the dynamics of co‐shopping. Sizing systems should be relevant to avoid dissatisfaction and confusion. More research is needed focusing on larger and other samples; target markets and psychological needs for shopping. Originality/value – The area of children's shopping for clothing in the UK has a limited literature. Key issues revolve around garment sizing, garment fit, co‐shopping and consumer satisfaction. This study contributes to filling the gap in knowledge.