Rue21 targets plus sizes, opens new flagship

Teen retailer rue21 opened a new flagship in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, just one mile from its corporate headquarters. The 8,000-sq.-ft. store will feature rue+, the brand's plus-size line for both girls and boys.

The new store is ripe with interactive technology in the first-ever rueLounge, reported Chain Store Age. This space includes free WiFi, a cellphone charging station, iPads to shop rue21's online store, and a flat screen TV streaming videos and branded content. The idea is that teens will feel comfortable enough in the store to relax and hang out.

In addition, a "selfie" area is located outside of the fitting rooms so shoppers can snap photos of themselves after trying on clothing and share it on social media.

"Our mission is to react to the needs of our customers," Bob Fisch, president and CEO at rue2, told Chain Store Age. "We will continue to build and grow new categories based on their demands. The teen market is ever-changing and we will adapt and change with it."

Apax bought out Rue21 in 2013 for $1.1 billion and then took it private. The investor saw a big opportunity in the growing market of plus-size teen apparel, reported the Post Gazette. In fact, last summer Wet Seal (NASDAQ:WTSL) launched its line of plus-size clothing for teens called Wet Seal+.

Rue+ first launched as a test in November. It was available in about 20 stores during the fourth quarter and will enter more than 90 stores in 2015. In the next several years, it will roll out in about 1,000 of the company's 1,120 retail locations.

The brand knows the market for teen apparel has been tough with the closings of Wet Seal, Delia's and Deb Shop locations this year. However, the company added an online store in 2013, which has helped sales. Now between 65 and 75 percent of shoppers are using mobile devices.

For more:
-See this Chain Store Age article
-See this Post Gazette article

Related stories:
Rue21 to streamline checkout with new POS
Wet Seal files for bankruptcy
Wet Seal to reduce staff, cut costs
Wet Seal taps PacSun exec as executive VP and chief merchandising officer
Wet Seal to close Arden B, expand plus-size juniors