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Kids' Plus Sizes: Big In Fashion

Back-to-school shopping is already in full force. But this season, more than ever, some retailers are pushing a new product: plus-size clothes for kids.

It used to be overweight kids had to "size up" to get clothes to fit, but as CBS News Gretchen Carlson tells The Early Show, not anymore.

For many kids, dressing cool means fitting in, but with 15 to 30 percent of all kids in America now considered overweight, fitting in can often be a challenge.

For years, most retailers ignored the kids' plus-size market. But recently, a number of big-name brands have started cashing in.

Retail Analyst, Marshal Cohen says, "The plus-size business for kids has become critical for the retailers beginning to address how are they going to dress America."

Sears has been in the kids' plus-size business longer than anyone else, with more than 50 years under its belt. Now, other companies are catching on.

At J.C. Penney, the children's plus-size clothing line has been a huge success, with double digit gains in sales in just the last 2 years. That's because kids can look fashionable in a size 10 or a size 10 1/2 plus.

The key? The Penney's girls plus clothing - embroidered jeans, screen T-shirts and denim skirts -- is the same hip clothing you find in the regular girl's department, only with a bit more room.

Image is important, too. The plus section isn't hidden away at the back of the store. At the store, it is front and center, where plus-size girls feel included.

Gail Trippodi of J.C. Penney says, "The plus-size customer wants to be just like her friends, she wants to wear what they wear, she wants to wear what she sees on TV, and she wants to wear what she sees in magazines."

Alex Cohan is a senior manager for Old Navy, which got into the plus-size business only recently.

She says, "Parents asked and we answered. The customer feedback was definitely that they needed to outfit their children who were plus size."

The hot item this fall is clothes with adjustable waists.

Weight and eating disorder specialist Katherine Loeb says being able to find clothes that fit and look fashionable helps boost the self-esteem of overweight kids.

Loeb says, "If they can treat themselves well at any weight and convey self-confidence, that will create a positive feedback. In fact, they may feel more motivated to continue on a weight-loss process."

And it doesn't appear this trend is going away any time soon.

Marshal Cohen says, "You're gonna see more and more of this made available as other retailers watch to see how these retailers have been successful."

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