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Meets the Style Needs Of Big & Tall Men
by Beverly Dykes
Big and tall men have made specialty-sized apparel one of the fastest growing segments of retailing. The national expansion of Destination XL (DXL) has been a natural progression of the trend, reflecting the growing need for designer brand clothing, shoes, accessories and home and living products that appeal to this niche category of style and quality conscious men who find themselves proportioned outside the standard range of merchandise offered at traditional department stores. Destination XL is the most recent retail concept to be developed by Casual Male Retail Group, which has been targeting the men’s big and tall segment for more than 100 years (and is currently in the process of changing its name to Destination XL Group). The all-inclusive superstore’s primary focus is on making a broad selection of on-trend, casual men’s clothing, shoes and hard line products available to a national clientele that appreciates the company’s differentiation in the marketplace.
The Destination XL retail concept is one of several operated under the umbrella of CMRG Apparel, LLC, the largest retailer of big and tall men‘s apparel throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The company headquarters are in Canton, MA, and its common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market under symbol “CMRG.” Its retail operations as of early 2013 numbered approximately 375+ Casual Male XL retail and outlet stores, 50+ Destination XL stores, 13 Rochester Big & Tall stores, as well as promoting the e-commerce sites BT Factory Direct, Shoes XL and Living XL. The multi-channel retailer gears its services toward customers who are defined by their physical characteristic of being either big, tall, or both (but who otherwise hail from a variety of demographic and socioeconomic groups).
Destination XL stores are unique in offering a one-stop-shop for outfitting a plus-sized modern lifestyle, encompassing men’s big and tall sizes of apparel, extended sized shoes, accessories (socks, belts, gloves, ties, watches, underwear, etc.) and men and women’s home & living products (oversized chairs, fitness equipment, outdoor living, health, home and travel related). The selection of shirts, pants, jeans and outerwear present thousands of fashion options, with tiered pricing structures based on items being grouped under Luxury, Essentials and Value categories. Available sizes include waists ranging from 38 to 64; big sizes from XL to 8XL; tall from LT to 7XLT, and shoes in extended sizes from 10 to 16, with widths up to 3E.
Customers are pleased to find an extensive assortment of highly coveted styles of clothing and shoes, in accommodating sizes, in a convenient and enjoyable shopping environment. The brands featured range from value-priced private labels like Harbor Bay and Oak Hill, to the latest in season merchandise and exclusive looks from such nationally renowned designers as Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Cole Hahn, Tommy Hilfiger, and Tommy Bahama. The stores also stock selections from such classic, trusted favorites as Dockers, Reebok, Levi’s and Nautica. The trained sales associates understand the needs of the big and tall man, and are dedicated to having available the latest up-to-the-minute styles and labels of casual and active wear, in customarily hard-to-find sizes. The store associates pride themselves on having the resources and ability to be able to fully outfit a customer from head-to-toe, appropriate to their daily wardrobe needs, in a timely manner.
The chain’s added value services include on-site custom tailoring and personalized wardrobe advice geared around individual lifestyle preferences. There is also an XL Rewards Club program that offers added benefits based on cumulative dollars spent. The more shoppers spend, the higher tier they achieve (either Silver, Gold or Platinum Status), with benefits increasing with each level reached. An online Rewards Center allows customers to track their spending, reward points earned, and certificate status, and review their transactions history.
At present, there are 52 Destination XL stores in operation in 26 states nationwide. New DXL stores were added to the store roster in 2012-2013 throughout the U.S. and Canada, as part of a long term growth plan. Projections for 2014-2015 call for 50-75 new stores to be opened annually across all of the parent companies retail brands. Among recent development targets have been new and existing operating regions in the states of CA, IN, MN, MA, OH, OK, NJ, TX and WI. The Destination XL concept typically utilizes from 7,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. of space, with a minimum of 90 ft. of frontage, in high quality power centers and pad site/outparcels. There is preference for occupying freestanding or end-cap space in open air centers and upscale shopping districts catering to dense populations; 1,000,000 within a 20-minute drive time for urban locales; or 1,000,000 within a 30-minute drive time for suburban venues. The ideal household income within an approximately 10-mile trade zone is $70,000. Co-tenancy preference is for similar caliber, strong performing apparel and fashion-oriented retailers that are nationally recognized, and typically positioned in lifestyle centers and quality regional shopping destinations. High visibility, ease of accessibility, and parking (10 dedicated spaces at a minimum) are important considerations also. Strong storefront identity and pylon signs are required, as is a traffic count of 40,000 vehicles per day. The typical lease term commitment is 5 years, with three 5-year options.
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