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The juniors department at the Navy Exchange store on Sasebo Naval Base is set to expand. The store has eliminated its petite section; maternity and larger women's clothing were slated for elimination but have been brought back.
The juniors department at the Navy Exchange store on Sasebo Naval Base is set to expand. The store has eliminated its petite section; maternity and larger women's clothing were slated for elimination but have been brought back. (Teri Weaver / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Larger sizes in women’s clothing are returning to Sasebo’s Navy Exchange, but the merchandise most likely will not arrive until fall, according to the store’s general manager.

Maternity clothing, once slated for elimination from the store, already has returned, general manager Sandra Franklin told sailors, base workers and their families last week at two town hall meetings for Sasebo Naval Base residents.

Petite clothing will be eliminated in place of a larger juniors section, she said.

Last year, officials at Navy Exchange’s headquarters in Virginia made inventory changes worldwide based on how merchandise was selling at individual stores. Some items that sold at deep discounts were discontinued, Franklin explained.

At Sasebo, customers complained, especially about the elimination of women’s clothing sizes 18 and larger, Franklin said.

“I forwarded those to our headquarters, and they took notice,” she said Wednesday evening at a town hall meeting at the Hario housing complex.

Because of the customer reaction, NEX decided to bring back the larger sizes for a year. After that period, NEX headquarters will evaluate sales and decide whether to continue, Franklin said.

In the meantime, Franklin is working with the Navy’s ombudsman program to start a focus group on base for women who have ideas about the larger clothing lines.

The decision was made last week, though it will take months to take effect, Franklin said. Like many retailers, NEX buys its merchandise months in advance. In the spring, buyers are looking at fall and winter lines, she said.

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