Will the new/old Lands’ End catch on with consumers?
Will trying some new things without entirely throwing out the old help Lands’ End enjoy the holiday selling season? That’s what the company is in the process of discovering as it has recently announced a number of initiatives including pop-up stores in New York and Boston, a new private label, and a catalog.
The New York pop-up opened last month on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The 9,800 square-foot store set on two floors features items from Lands’ End’s men’s, women’s, children’s, home and holiday gift selections. The pop-up has a ski chalet feel and includes a hot chocolate bar on the second floor.
"We are proud that the iconic brand of Lands’ End embarks on this new wonderful journey," said Federica Marchionni, chief executive officer, Lands’ End, in a statement last month. "At Lands’ End, our passion for our entire family — customers and the community — runs deep; I can’t think of a better time to celebrate our wonderful extended family than the holidays."
Lands’ End has also just announced the launch of a new private label and shop-within-a-shop-within-a-store concept known as Lighthouse by Lands’ End. The first concept shop was launched inside a Lands’ End Shop inside a Sears at the Willow Grover Park Mall in Pennsylvania. Eight other similar shops are planned to open at Sears beginning in February.
Source: Lands’ End
"The lighthouse is the beacon that points to where we’re going, a bright future that keeps us striving to consistently give our customers new experiences and updated products from a trusted brand," said Ms. Marchionni. "As we develop the Lighthouse by Lands’ End collection for next year, we will focus on classic, casual styles that, like the lighthouse itself, will stand true to our heritage."
The new Lands’ End catalog stars Vogue cover model Angela Lindvall. The new book, according to a New York Times report, includes classic Lands’ End designs within lifestyle shots of "rectilinear hotties sipping Champagne" or as the author describes it, "In with the old, in with the new."
When Ms. Marchionni joined Lands’ End last February, the former president of Dolce & Gabbana USA, said the company would go through a 12- to 18-month "transformational period" as she sought to put it on footing that would be sustainable for the long haul. Nine months in it will be interesting to see if real progress is being made in realizing Ms. Marchionni’s vision for the company.
- Lands’ End Holiday 2015 Look Book – Lands’ End
- Lands’ End Opens First Ever Holiday Pop-Up Shop In New York City – Lands’ End
- Lands’ End Announces Lighthouse By Lands’ End – Lands’ End/Globe Newswire
- Lands’ End Updates Its Image – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
- Will things get better after being worse at Lands’ End – RetailWire
How does an established brand such as Lands’ End successfully navigate change to attract new shoppers without throwing out its heritage customers in the process? Are there other brands that Lands’ End can learn from as it goes through the transformational period described by its CEO?
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4 Comments on "Will the new/old Lands’ End catch on with consumers?"
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Lands’ End has the skill set and the assortments to tap the new, healthy, outdoor crowd and the cabin live-in crowd (Boomers). The trick is concentrating on the right groups, right time and right assortment. Lands’ End is in a tough space, but can pull this off with leveraging the Lands’ End heritage and re-introducing it to the new world of retail.
Lands’ End has a well-established niche, but they clearly need to go after Millennials in a big way. I’m not sure that pop-ups and enhanced branding will be big enough to do that. They’re going to need to beef up their social media presence and perhaps look at an off-price concept like J. Crew Factory.
So far the new efforts by Lands’ End appear to be mostly focused on the image and customer engagement tactics, while the product offerings seem to be much the same. If that’s the strategy, then they’ll likely focus on appealing to the old and new customer segments by targeting their messaging and brand media elements in a manner that allows them to speak to both crowds.
In such a fractured media world there’s no reason they can’t find ways to engage the audiences with the right message. The question is, will the products resonate with the new audience they are trying to attract?
While I wish them well, I’m not sure anything is enough to overcome the trauma of years of Sears ownership and mismanagement. And while these efforts are very much by-the-playbook moves, they don’t call to mind what I remember LE for: authenticity. For years it was a Midwest cousin to L.L.Bean — albeit one with much less of an “outdoors” image — and one of a limited number of retailers that sold traditional quality clothing by mail. Now lots of people do (yes, online IS mail order). It’s hard enough to turn around when you’re losing your competitive advantage … I’m not sure it can be done if it’s already lost.