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Shaq teams up with J.C. Penney to create a new big and tall menís brand

August 27, 2018

Shaquille "Shaq" OíNeal has a new big and tall menís clothing brand at J.C. Penney. The 7-foot-tall former NBA star has been a brand ambassador with Penney since March appearing in the Plano, Texas-based retailerís marketing.

The relationship has evolved into the Shaquille OíNeal XLG brand which will be in about 350 Penney stores and online on Sept. 13.

OíNeal will help Penney strengthen its already significant special size business, said James Starke, senior vice president and head of merchandising at Penney.

Penney is the largest big and tall retailer among the department store chains.

In the second quarter, big and tall menís sales posted a double-digit percent sales increase. Penney is giving Shaq credit for much of that gain. Clothing he wears in Penneyís print and digital pieces have doubled the sell-through of other items, the company said.

In the 12 months ended in June, NPD Group said the menís big-and-tall category was about 10 percent of the $64 billion annual menís business. Penney may be grabbing some market share in the category. Menís big-and-tall category sales were down 3 percent in the U.S. and total menís was down 1 percent, according to NPD.

The NBA start is the second professional athlete to work with Penney menís apparel business.

Former NFL star Michael Strahanís tailored and athleisure apparel brands have been strong sellers for Penney. Strahan started out with suits in 2015 and then added casual and athletic apparel in 2016.

"Strahan is a hands-on partner that, to this day, is still fully engaged in the conception of all Michael Strahan brands ó Collection and MSX," said Penney spokesman Joey Thomas.

OíNealís brand will only be made for the big and tall customer and there will be a small crossover with Strahan who has a limited number of items in big and tall.

Shaquille OíNeal XLG includes more than 60 styles of menís suited separates up to size 60, dress shirts, extra long ties and belts up to size 4XL. Suits are priced at $199.99 and shirts at $32.50. Clothing has been designed for comfort with cooling technology and stretch fabrics and flex collars.

"Iíve always partnered with trusted, quality brands that have personal meaning to me, and Iím beyond excited to expand my relationship with J.C. Penney," OíNeal said in a press release. "Every big guy should have the opportunity to bring the sexy like I do," OíNeal said.

This apparel will fit guysí frames and wallets, he said. A few years ago he had a line with Macyís.

While Penney had some strength in menís and womenís and childrenís apparel in the second quarter reported last week, the companyís home sales declined and it had too much inventory store-wide. The retailer managed a 0.3 percent same-store sales increase, but widened its loss and lowered its outlook for the year. Its stock price is trading at historic lows.

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