Menswear chain bets big on upscale clothes for plus-size guys

Destination XL hopes to open 60 stores nationally this year, replacing Casual Male XL and Rochester Big & Tall sites

by Cheryl V. Jackson

David Reinke, Vice President/General Brand Manager for KingSize, was interviewed for this article regarding clothing options for plus-size guys.

Big and tall inventory accounts for about 30 percent of inventory at Men’s Wearhouse, which has more than 1,100 stores nationwide, said Mary Beth Blake, chief merchandising officer. That’s up 5 percentage points from five years ago. Big and tall sales have grown on average 4 percent a year in that period.

“It has been a strong growth vehicle for us over the last several years.”

The chain carries jackets as large as size 70. Traditional stores usually consider anything above a 48 as plus-size and might go as high as 58, Blake said.

Meanwhile, online retailer KingSize said sales have increased in recent years.

“We were nervous when The Foundry opened up and DXL opened up. But some of the best sales gains we’ve had (have) been in the last two years,” said David Reinke, vice president and general brand manager at KingSize, which carries mostly private label sports, business and active wear in big sizes up to 10XL, tall sizes up to 7XL and shoe sizes up to 18.

Its typical customer spends about $90 per visit and buys from the site several times a year.

“For the big and tall guys, they love the Web because they have a much broader assortment to choose from,” Reinke said. “We find once someone starts ordering online and we get them into their correct fitting size, they don’t go back.”

Total sales at Destination XL Group have remained relatively flat for the past four fiscal years at a little less than $400 million. But Destination XL same-store sales have been growing faster than sales at the company’s 246 Casual Male retail stores, Levin said. That led officials to speed up the opening of Destination XL stores and retire the Casual Male concept.

Chicago Tribune KingSize interview

(Andrew A. Nelles, Chicago Tribune)

Media Credit:

  • Chicago Tribune
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