Retailer Targets Really Big Consumers
The Casual Male Retail Group sees an extremely large market opportunity selling products designed for extremely large people.
The company is launching its LivingXL catalog and online site with products such as the world’s biggest toilet seat and a lawn chair that will support up to 800 pounds. LivingXL is looking to make its mark by moving beyond just big and tall fashion to offer other items that speak to the needs of larger people.
Peggy Howell is a 300-pound woman and she’s also the very customer that LivingXL caters to. She told The Associated Press, “When I’m trying to buy lawn chairs, I want to get one that’s wide and sturdy. My sister and I share a home in Las Vegas, and whenever we go to a party or an event, we take our special collapsible lawn chairs. We know we’ll feel secure in them, and comfortable.”
Ms. Howell added, “You can find these kinds of specialty things once in a while, but they’re not always easy to find. When you do, you tell all your friends.”
LivingXL is a rebranding of SuperSizeWord.com, a business that Casual Male bought last year.
“We knew from our Casual Male stores that they didn’t like ‘Big & Tall,'” David Levin, CEO of Casual Male told the AP. “They certainly wouldn’t like SuperSize, especially with that movie Super Size Me.”
Bill Mabrey, president of Amplestuff, a catalog and e-tailer operating in the same space as LivingXL, agreed that sensitivity is an imperative for success. “Often, people who need this stuff have a sense of hopelessness, and some are even afraid to go out in public because there’s no place they can go and sit down in a chair without breaking it,” he said.
Mr. Levin is looking for LivingXL to become something truly unique in this niche. “We believe we’ve created something that doesn’t exist. I’m sure this catalog will morph into something different than what you see in its first initial edition.”
LivingXL intends to mail 2.5 million catalogs as part of its first run.
Ms. Howell is among those happy that LivingXL is there to meet her needs. “It is an underserved market, and one I believe more and more retailers will be taking a more serious look at,” she said. “We need more than just clothing.”
Discussion Question: How significant a market opportunity do you see for companies such as LivingXL and Amplestuff? What are the keys to growing this type of business?
- From extra-large toilet seats to extra-strong lawn chairs, new catalog caters to living large – The Associated Press/Seattle Post-Intelligencer