GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Building upon its investment in apparel, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer Meijer is announcing a new, inclusive shopping experience that will give customers of all sizes the opportunity to shop together. By early 2017, plus-size departments in each of the retailer's 230 stores across the Midwest will be integrated into missy and women's, placing straight and extended sizes on one rack. As an industry leader in making this change, Meijer is proud to create a shopping experience based on trends, not size. "Over the past few years, we've placed an increased focus on bringing more on-trend, affordable apparel to our customers," said Peter Whitsett, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing. "This fresh approach to shopping represents a continuation of that commitment, giving our customers the trends they're looking for, regardless of what size they wear." Meijer says its customers are taking notice. "I think that's so amazing, the way Meijer is incorporating plus and the smaller sizes together," said JoElla Saines, a Meijer customer from Normal, Ill. "Now everyone can shop together, not separate." As part of this merchandising change, Meijer is also rolling out equal pricing for all women's apparel items, no longer charging more for plus sizes despite the higher production costs. The Midwest retailer is making this investment so all customers have access to fashion at the same price. "Plus-size apparel is often priced higher than missy or women's sizes," said Annette Repasch, group vice president of softlines for Meijer. "We believe all our customers deserve to pay the same price for the same trends, regardless of size." By combining all sizes into one department, Meijer is also able to maximize its existing retail space. The new, integrated clothing department only accounts for 80 percent of the current space, which will allow the apparel buyers at Meijer to add even more trends and styles in the near future.