Almost 30% of American men need new pants, and the Dallas company says sales are rebounding quickly.

By   |  10:23 AM on May 18, 2021

As masks come off, pants have to come back on, creating a moment of truth for many who have gained or lost weight in the past year.

About 30% of American men are coming out of the pandemic in a different pant size, and that’s created a weekly lift for longtime Dallas brand Haggar Clothing Co. About 17% of men need a bigger size and about 12% are smaller, based on consumer research data supplied to Haggar.

“February was still slow, and then we started seeing sales levels comparable to 2019,” Stitt said. Average weekly sales in March were 58% higher than February, and April was 97% higher.

Across its own direct-to-consumer business and through its retail customers that sell the brand such as J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target and Amazon, comparable sales month-to-date are up 8% from the same period in 2019.

“Slacks are back,” is the new mantra around his office, Stitt said. That’s a nod back to the company’s Dallas history, when Lebanese immigrant Joseph M. Haggar coined the word slacks for the more casual pants the company started making to be worn away from work.

But Stitt and his staff weren’t laughing during the pandemic, when forecasts for dress and tailored apparel was downright scary and actual tailored clothing, dress pants and khaki sales were down 40% to 60%.

“For 12 months, we didn’t sell a lot of suits,” Stitt said. “Now dress pants are our fastest-growing item. We’re really excited after spending a year as the apparel category most affected by pandemic and one prediction after another saying this was the end of dressing up.”

Easter was pivotal, weddings kicked in and people began to go back to work in offices and at service jobs in restaurants and hotels that require dress slacks.

“We’re hoping for the 21st century’s version of the Roaring ’20s,” he said.

Haggar’s dress slack has retained its market share standing as the No. 1 dress pant and No. 2 in suits based on units sold, according to NPD Group.

The 95-year-old company was founded in Dallas and is now based in Farmers Branch. Haggar operates 40 outlet stores and sells directly to customers online, and its merchandise is sold in more than 10,000 stores.

In May 2019, Haggar, which historically has had annual sales of more than $400 million, was sold to Randa Accessories, a New York-based men’s accessories maker.