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Demand for supersize uniforms is soaring

Demand for supersize uniforms is soaring as Britain’s obesity crisis unfolds.

Orders for sizes XXL (50in) to XXXXXXL – to fit workers with a massive 63in chest on Clothes2Order.com – are rocketing.

The company’s range of shirts, hoodies and polo shirts previously went up to XXXXXL (59in chest) but has had to be increased to 6XL as the country’s workforce gets bigger and bigger.

Clothes2Order (Part of Quayside Clothing), which is based in Trafford Park, Greater Manchester, has analysed its sales patterns for the past five years and found that orders for XXL and above have risen by 733 per cent in that time.

Five years ago, the company had just 900 orders that contained supersize items, but the figure has risen to 7,500 in the past 12 months.

Sizes XXL and above now account for nearly seven per cent of the uniforms sold by the rapidly-growing online business, which supplies embroidered and personalised uniform shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts to retailers, hotels, pubs and restaurants, tradesmen, IT and technology firms.

Michael Conway, managing director of Clothes2Order, said: “In 2008, the biggest uniforms we supplied came in 5XL, or 59in, but we have had to increase that to 6XL.

“As a business, we have had to make sure we source and offer more items in 2XL and above than ever before, to cater for the growing demand. The sales increase in that category has easily outstripped growth in all other categories over the past five years.

“We often do embroidered polo shirts all the way up to a 63in chest these days. Orders in that size are increasingly common.
“It is not a feature of any one sector in particular, but across the board. We all know the UK economy is growing only slowly, but the workforce seems to be expanding rapidly – at least across the chest.”

*According to the latest statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, 24 per cent of men and 26 per cent of women in England are classed as obese, meaning they have a body mass index of 30 or above. The figures have risen since 1993 from 13 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.