New brand for RAG
Retail Apparel Group (RAG), which operates the Tarocash, Yd, and Connor chains, is adding another brand to its menswear stable, with the launch next month of a label catering exclusively for ‘big and tall’ men.
Johnny Bigg by Tarocash will launch online on September 15 with a store to follow shortly after at Westfield Penrith, in Sydney’s west.
The label will stock mens sizes XL to 7 XL in tops, 36 to 52 in pants, 42 to 56 in jackets, and up to size 15 in footwear. It will also carry fits for tall men, with sizing from XL tall through to 4 XL tall.
Despite being a standalone brand with its own website and stores, the brand carries the ‘by Tarocash’ moniker. Around 25 per cent of the Johnny Bigg range will be exclusive lines, primarily shirting, polos, and shorts, while the balance will be made up of Tarocash styling and fabrications produced in larger blocks.
Julian Hayman, GM of Johnny Bigg, moved across from RAG’s Yd brand in February when the group recognised a gap in the Australian menswear market that was not being addressed.
“Nobody is really catering in a fashionable way for the big and tall guy,” Hayman told Inside Retail PREMIUM.
“What is around is very old school, old fashioned, and nothing is done very fashionably.
“There was a gap in the market to offer fashionable, well styled, on trend products for the big and tall guy, and in the Tarocash brand we did and still do offer larger sizes, but not in a very specialised way.
“With Johnny Bigg we’ve taken the approach that we’re going to offer a specialised brand that will cater not only online but in accessible bricks and mortar stores to the big guy, because really, he’s been an after thought until now.”
Remarkably, Johnny Bigg items will not be priced at a premium, unlike many other plus size apparel brands, with pricepoints in line with smaller sized counterparts sold at Tarocash.
T-shirts & polos will come with a price tag of $49.99; suiting, $299.99; dress bottoms and denim $99.99; woven shirts $89.99; short sleeve shirts and shorts 79.99.
Johnny Bigg also targets a similar demographic to Tarocash – the 20 to 44 year old “who wants to look good when he’s dressing up or down to go out”.
“He is likely to be the same as the Tarocash demographic, but just happens to be the bigger, larger guy. For example, an AFL guy in Melbourne who’s 6’4” has no where to go for a shirt that will fit a longer arm or body,” said Hayman.
Bricks and mortar
With the Johnny Bigg e-commerce site to go live on September 15, the first store in Penrith will open before the end of 2014. One more store is under negotiation, also in Sydney’s west.
The Penrith store spans 170sqm, with around 150sqm to be fitted out. Going forward, the ideal store footprint for Johnny Bigg is between 120sqm and 140sqm.
“We’ve got a great concept and great design,” said Hayman of the new store.
“It’s very masculine and warm, and we think the client is not going to be alienated – we really want the bigger man to fit in rather than stand out.”
A national rollout of the brand is expected to kick off next year.
“The idea is to make sure we get the environment right and our fits right with the view to going into a national rollout over time.
“We have done our homework about where Tarocash has sold larger sizes and we feel western NSW is the best place to start, but that’s not to say we won’t go interstate to key shopping centres and demographics where we know that our guy is around and will shop.”
Hayman said it would be hard to put a total on the number of Johnny Bigg stores that may be opened.
“Certainly we want the rollout to be nationally, quickly, but I don’t want to put a timeline or target on it because we want to get it right first.
“In the longer term strategy we could potentially roll it out in Tarocash stores where appropriate, so it might be in a bigger store that can accommodate a concession. Right now though, our plan is to open our own standalones stores.”