Casual Male Launches Catalog for Living Large

As consumers continue to grow taller and increasingly wider, there’s a greater need for everyday products to accommodate people of size. That’s why men’s apparel merchant Casual Male XL last month launched LivingXL, a catalog of non-apparel products for obese men and women.

For example, the 48-page sells a “Big John” toilet seat with a 1,200-pound capacity for $124.95. LivingXL also sells a portable lawn chair ($139.95) that can support up to 800 lbs.; this particular item has sold out in less than a month, according to Ric Della Bernarda, senior vice president of marketing for the company’s Canton, MA-based parent Casual Male Retail Group. Besides selling items for large people, Della Bernarda says LivingXL also caters to tall people.

According to federal statistics, approximately two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, up significantly from the late 1970 when 47% were obese. Della Bernarda says Casual Male conducted considerable customer research before launching LivingXL. “I’ve been here 15 years, and we’ve conducted tons of research,” he says. “We’ve always heard of a need [for goods] outside of apparel.” Last fall, the company paid $400,000 to buy the Website, which has become LivingXL. Casual Male wanted to rebrand to it more appealing to the audience, he says.

The company mailed 350,000 copies of the book in May. It’s too soon to tell how many drops there will be this year, but Della Bernarda believes there will be at least five. “I really believe this is timely,” he says. “This became a natural extension to respond to customers’ needs outside of apparel.” Many overweight or obese people have trouble finding merchandise offered in LivingXL. “We’ve aggregated a lot items into one catalog and e-commerce site,” Della Bernarda says. “It is extremely difficult to find these products.” Better still, “we’ve had a great response from customers already suggesting new items,” he notes. “That has given us great leads on new items so in the future we can offer a wider array of products.”

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