Cotton Traders is filling what it sees as a gap in the market by offering a bigger range of sizes that go up to a 62" chest for men and dress size 26 for women.

The leisurewear brand's introduction of the enlarged range follows research, analysis and trial carried out with its database of one million consumers across the UK.

Examination of mail order and retail sales figures indicated that it was the larger sizes that were already most popular with consumers, and that even larger options would also be well received.

A series of retail trials backed the findings and confirmed that the range would be successful in store. One 4XL (59" chest) pique was introduced into a number of outlets across the country - and sold out immediately.

Company founder and former England rugby captain, Fran Cotton comments: "Research and customer feedback highlighted a previously unexploited gap in the market for much larger sizes."

"Historically, larger sizes have been very badly catered for. Whereas many women's clothing manufacturers have already extended their ranges, men have been restricted by a limited and significantly more costly offering that is often very poor quality in relation to the prices charged."

Further range extensions are planned for the future and larger sizes will be available across all garments in the Cotton Traders collection from February 2004.