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Where are all the maternity sections?

October 24th, 2012 by pixelmixer

It seems that department stores are slowly moving away from the maternity section. I’m not sure when the decline started, but I’ve definitely noticed it as I progress through my second trimester and seek elastic waistbands to comfort a growing abdomen.
I first noticed the problem with Target. I thought the maternity section shrank because of the change of seasons, but then it didn’t get bigger when we transitioned from summer to fall styles. I decided to check out Wal-Mart next. Wal-Mart doesn’t have a maternity section at all, and when I asked a woman who was working about belly bands or anything for pregnancy, she was dumbfounded. I went to Kohl’s, which recently opened near us, with high hopes from my past experience in the stores in Indiana. Its section was a total of five racks- one with sweaters and four with pants. Most of the pants were skinny cut or regular cut. (By the way, who the heck wants to wear skinny jeans when they’re pregnant?) And one of the racks had corduroy pants, another testy subject for me.
This brings me to my next question: Why have these stores stopped marketing to a group of people who have been big money makers in the past? There are huge chains of stores completely dedicated to maternity clothing, which tells me that the market is still there. Online, the fore-mentioned stores have a better maternity selection, so why not offer at least a good portion of those options in the stores? I, for one, do not want to order pants then have to return them to the post office or to the store.
It’d be interesting to learn the strategies behind these decisions. I wonder if pregnant women have been shown to shop online more than in the stores, which fueled the changes.

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