Casual Male Retail Group Inc., a multi-channel retailer of men’s big and tall clothing and accessories, is starting up a European e-commerce operation.
In addition, the company, No. 236 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will use GSI Commerce Inc. to oversee its overseas web expansion plans. “Consistent with our strategy to grow our direct business in August 2008 we will be launching our Casual Male and Rochester brands within the European Union initially in six countries on the web with expansion plans beyond 2008,” Casual Male CEO David Levin told analysts on the company’s third quarter earnings call.
The company, which in September launched ShoesXL.com, an e-commerce site that offers a selection of shoes for big and tall men from top brand names, will use GSI to oversee all of its European e-commerce and fulfillment operations. “We view this venture as an extension of our existing direct business and we will manage the division within our own merchandising team,” Levin told analysts. GSI will provide full design, e-commerce platform, fulfillment and call center operations for online Casual Male and Rochester stores in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands. Each web store in the respective countries will feature that country’s currency and language, GSI says. “This is an impressive overseas win for us,” says a GSI Commerce spokesman.
Casual Male is broadening its business base in Europe based on the performance of its store operations in London. “We are optimistic about the opportunity based on the success of our London-based Rochester store,” Levin told analysts. “It is the second highest volume store in the company and continues to be one of our best comp stores year in and year out. Currently there is nothing in Europe that offers the marketplace the strength of brands and assortments that we carry today.”
Casual Male, which doesn’t break out web sales as a separate channel, posted a net loss of $3.8 million on sales of $106.6 million, compared with a loss of $800,000 on sales of $106.9 million in Q3 of 2006. The loss in the current quarter included a non-cash charge of $2.6 million related to the closing of Jared M, an apparel company specializing in selling custom clothing to professional athletes and high-profile clients.