Australian general merchandise retailer Target today (19 April) announced plans to scan up to 20,000 people as part of efforts to identify and analyse the dominant body shapes and measurements of its customers.

The retailer is working with sizing specialist Alvanon to bring its 3D AlvaScan machine to Australia. The system will measure consumers' bodies in less than 60 seconds, providing them with a take-home printout of their measurements.

"Sizing inconsistencies are a major cause of customer frustration across the retail industry and the leading contributor of return rates for clothing both instore and online," said Target Australia managing director Dene Rogers.

"Quality is very important to Target, with consistent and reliable fit a key component of customers' quality expectations both instore and online. By taking sixty seconds to come and be scanned, consumers will not only find out their exact measurements, they'll be helping Target find out what size Australians really are today, so that we can make clothes that really fit."

Alvanon said this is the first time a major and detailed survey of Australian body shapes has been undertaken since World War II.

"Once we have taken the 20,000 body scans we will analyse them and produce the most dominant shapes and corresponding size charts for Target's consumer population," said Alvanon CEO Janice Wang.

"Target's fashion development teams will then use this data to optimise the fit of clothes for its shoppers."