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Casual Male Tries On One-Stop Shopping

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DXL offers a collection of good, better and best products...
The fitting rooms, above, are highlighted with perimeter mega-graphics. Right:...
An oversized atrium window creates highway scale visibility on the...

Casual Male Retail Group, the nation’s largest retailer of men’s big and tall apparel, is thinking even bigger these days. The retailer debuted a superstore concept, called Destination XL, or DXL, this summer in Schaumburg, Ill. Additional locations are set to open in Memphis, Tenn., Houston and Las Vegas.

The new format was created following extensive consumer research that found that big and tall men wanted more choices, and were willing to travel longer distances for a one-stop shopping environment targeted to their specific needs. At an estimated 12,000 sq. ft., DXL carries thousands of clothing options in big and tall sizes, along with hundreds of shoes in extended sizes.

“DXL allows Casual Male to bring all its various collections and full assortment, including private label and national brands, under one roof,” said Ken Nisch, chairman, JGA, Southfield, Mich. “It offers a wider variety of products, price points and brands than the typical Casual Male.”

It also offers alterations, special orders and a highly trained staff.

“This customer tends to shop episodically in that they look to buy everything they need two or three times a year,” Nisch said. “DXL is designed with that need in mind.”

The exterior is designed to be eye-catching on a drive-by basis, but welcoming at a pedestrian level. The interior has a comfortable, modern feel, with warm, brown tones and blue and green accents. Graphic wall treatments are featured above the merchandise in select departments. Porcelain tile is used throughout to create a consistent upscale look.

The assortment is merchandised by lifestyle, with product available in good, better and best prices points. The mix ranges from value-priced lines to such high-end luxury brands as Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

“Casual Male’s customers range from 17-year-old football players to retired executives,” Nisch said. “They cross all demographics. That led us to create distinct lifestyle zones to house the merchandise.”

The departmental zoning showcases the superstore’s diverse, tailored-to-lifestyle approach. The four key areas—Active, Studio, Club and Casual Dress—are highlighted with large elevated platforms that become the focal area for each department. Mannequins, props, feature lighting, fixtures, area rugs and other distinct elements give each zone its own identity.

The platform in the Active area, for instance, features a multisport technical finish and actively engaged forms and mannequins. The focal wall suggests a skybox view through its stadium architecture and backlit illuminated graphics. By contrast, The Club area, with its nickel and wenge fixtures, has a more formal look that reflects its tailored assortment. The mannequins are in reserved poses.

The fitting rooms are located in the store’s hub. The rooms are oversized, and each has a masculine-themed mega-graphic, with themes ranging from sports to vintage cars to guitars.

“The research showed that Casual Male customers often shop with his significant other, and that she was not comfortable going to where the fitting rooms were traditionally located, in the back of the store,” Nisch said. “So we moved the fitting-room area to the middle of the space, and positioned it as the hub that all the departments rotate around. It gives us great, high-impact walls to merchandise essentials.”

The area is female-friendly, with a lounge space complete with furniture and a flat-screened television. It also offers sightlines from one corner of the store to the other.

“It’s not your typical men’s fitting room,” Nisch said. Indeed, Destination XL is unique in other ways too, he added.

“In many cases, stores like this are built around problem sizes. But Casual Male’s position is that big is not a problem size. So this store is a store for someone who likes to shop, not a store to solve a problem.”

For more photos of Destination XL, go to the Photo Gallery onchainstoreage.com .

© 2014