The family who owns Murray-based Dahle's Big and Tall is leaving the retail business, after signing a deal on Thursday to sell some of its stores to Casual Male XL.

Seven of Dahle's men's stores will become Casual Male XL, and Dahle's remaining men's and women's stores will be liquidated. The three Dahle's men's stores in Utah — in Murray, Ogden and Orem — as well as stores in Gilbert, Ariz.; Las Vegas; Boise; and Billings, Mont., will "all transition to Casual Male XL sometime in November, probably sometime before Thanksgiving," said Rob Dahle of Dahle Management Corp.

The men's stores in Missoula, Mont.; Largo, Fla.; and in Osh Kosh, Madison and Brookfield, Wis., will close as part of the deal. Dahle's Fashion Plus women's stores will tentatively close in May 2009. They're located in Ogden, West Valley City, Orem, Boise, Billings, Missoula, and Reno, Nev.

The two remaining men's stores, in Spokane, Wash., and Grand Junction, Colo., may close, depending on whether Casual Male Retail Group Inc., based in Canton, Mass., wants to exercise its option to operate the stores.

While the staffs at the stores that will become Casual Male will remain employed, about 60 full- and part-time employees at the remaining men's and women's stores will be laid off. Liquidation is expected to be complete by the end of January 2009, Dahle said.

Financial details of the sale were not disclosed, but a statement by Casual Male said the seven Dahle's stores that will become Casual Male stores have annual sales of about $5 million. Casual Male will also get Dahle's catalogue business, worth about $500,000 in revenue last year.

Casual Male has approached Dahle's over the past six years about buying out Dahle stores, but no deal was ever inked until now, when Casual Male recently announced it wanted to enter several of the markets where Dahle's was the sole extended-sizes retailer.

The decision to sell was the result of considering "current business conditions, coupled with them occupying our stronger markets and our assessment of how much business is out there, (with them) splitting the business up," Rob Dahle said. "Maybe it's better to focus on the real-estate part and let them focus on the clothing side of it."

The company owns most of its stores' buildings and will lease them to other businesses, including Casual Male Retail.

Rob Dahle runs the business with his brother Allan. They are sons of Larry F. Dahle, who started the company 49 years ago. Rob Dahle describes leaving the retail business as bittersweet.

"I think the decision is something that's probably prudent, in light of current business conditions," he said. "But it's not something to celebrate. It's a reality of what's going on nationally with consolidation."


E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com