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Packing On The Pandemic Pounds? You're Not Alone As COVID Clothing Sizes Fluctuate

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The coronavirus pandemic closed gyms and led more people to stress eating. That has many Americans carrying a few extra pounds and looking for new clothes.

A few years ago, Lauren Wire decided to lose weight and successfully dropped 50 pounds.

"When the pandemic hit, I was in full workout mode, was the lowest I've ever been," she said.

Even with gyms shut down, Wire found ways to stay active. But she struggled to eat healthy, causing her to regain 10 pounds.

"When I fluctuate, I do need to get a new pair of pants or a new shirt to fit," she explained.

Apparel brands are seeing more customers like Wire.

Raghav Sharma is with Perfitly, a company that lets consumers create avatars for online shopping.

Starting in April, the company saw a 20% spike in people changing their online measurements.

"Our hypothesis is with people being locked in and not having much to do, there's a lot of eating going on. There's a lot of stress, there's a lot of boredom, and people are getting bigger," Sharma said.

While shoppers need new sizes, they're also making more returns, which can get pretty pricey for retail companies.

According to retail software company Narvar Inc., online returns doubled from mid-March to early June, saddling brands with more than $800 million in additional expenses.

"People truly aren't sure of their size, so they're still ordering three of everything," Sharma said.

Wire can attest to that.

"You know, I bought 30 bathing suits and returned 27 of them,, she said.

Wire is now working to drop the weight gained during the pandemic, and to keep it off.

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