July 6, 2011: Large-sized Men’s Clothing
While the choices for clothing for plus-size women have been improving for years (though there surely is room for more improvement), larger men have mostly had to put up with what one man describes in an article in Bloomberg Businessweek as “cheap-looking stuff.”
And apparently men don’t like to spend their money on the cheap stuff. According to the article (and global research firm NPD Group), 33 percent of U.S. males are obese, yet the “big-and-tall market accounts for just 8 percent of total menswear sales.” That’s only a quarter of the revenues of plus-size women’s clothing.
Some of the big retailers have already clued in and started targeting this market. Casual Male, which already serves the market, is launching a new concept with a bigger selection of clothes; Men’s Wearhouse is testing the big-and-tall concept this summer; and J.C. Penney has created a new chain of stores.
But don’t let that keep you away from selling to the big guys yourself. You can ease into the category and start selling online, or explore opening a brick-and-mortar store. If you already sell men’s clothing, consider adding more sizes and styles of clothing-and make sure you let your potential customers know about your new inventory.
I personally know a lot about this. When I was growing up, my dad and Grandfather owned a men’s clothing store. Even back then, men of all sizes were looking for stylish clothes they could wear. And since my significant other is 6′ 4″, I can attest to how hard it can be to find clothes that fit him and also reflect today’s styles.
This trend is not a passing fancy. As the baby boomers age (the first turned 65 this year), and the obesity rate continues to rise, NPD’s Marshal Cohen says the big-and-tall market will be “a very attractive and growing market.”