Destination XL Group proves a unique fit for customers who don’t like to shop
Destination XL Group (DXLG) CEO Harvey Kanter says it wasn’t that long ago that some thought the largest specialty retailer of big and tall men’s apparel was in trouble. Today, he says, the company may be “the best kept secret” in retail with a digitally transformed business that is positioned for success in the near, medium and long-term.
Mr. Kanter, who joined the company in 2019, told RetailWire that he and his team were tasked with getting DXLG’s financial house in order and at the same time begin moving to create a digital-first organization.
“Our perspective is that the consumer today starts almost every shopping trip” with a digital device, he said. That has only become more true over the past two years with the pandemic accelerating consumers’ reliance on digital for researching and completing purchases.
DXLG was fortunate, he said, because it had begun implementing services such as in-store and curbside pickup prior to the pandemic.
The retailer, which takes pride in its culture of customer service in stores, rolled out an online chat feature so associates working in its physical locations could assist customers shopping from home.
Mr. Kanter said that the company’s unique and proprietary fit and exclusive offers are two big drivers of DXLG’s growth.
The retailer sets itself apart with its approach to fit as retailers operating in the space tend to scale their clothing sizes up.
“Most men that are big and tall have the biggest challenge in the mid belly section, and so when others just scale up, [the fit’s] still tight in the midsection,” he said. DXLG has developed its proprietary fitting approach by bringing in real customers to measure them and determine sizes that are as close to custom tailored as you can buy off the rack. Mr. Kanter said that return rates at DXLG are “categorically lower than I’ve ever seen elsewhere in an apparel business.”
Exclusive name brands also puts DXLG in an enviable position in a space where customers don’t generally like to shop and have limited options to do so.
“In many cases brands will sell us and the only other place the brand is carried is in their own business,” said Mr. Kanter. He cited Vineyard Vines, which now only sells its big and tall men’s clothing through DXLG or directly to consumers. Other announcements are forthcoming.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the DXLG business model offer a path to sustainable sales and profit growth going forward? What do you see as challenges and opportunities the business will face in the coming years?