Lampert Wants More Lands’ End
By George Anderson
For many, it has been a foregone conclusion that it is simply a matter of time before Edward Lampert sells off Lands’ End because its upscale image simply doesn’t fit with Sears.
According to one source identified by The New York Post as being familiar with Mr. Lampert’s thinking on the subject, nothing could be further from the truth. “Eddie wants the Lands’ End brand put into Sears stores in a significant way. And he wants to remove any obstacles to making this happen.”
The same source said this hadn’t happened sooner because of obstacles put in the way by former Lands’ End CEO Mindy Meads who was concerned that the association with Sears would hurt her brand’s image.
To implement Mr. Lampert’s vision, Sears has begun testing Lands’ End store-within-a-store concepts at locations in Oak Brook, Ill., Paramus, N.J., Yonkers and Hicksville, N.Y.
While no decision has been made on whether to expand the test, Sears and Lands’ End are said to be pleased with the consumer response.
One of the internal issues with Sears selling Lands’ End in the past has been the department store’s need to markdown merchandise. Lands’ End, under Ms. Meads, was concerned that ongoing markdowns would devalue the brand. Sears found that, without markdowns, product was piling up in the store and backrooms as it went unsold.
The question for Mr. Lampert and Sears, as The New York Post piece points out, is whether Sears shoppers will pay up to twice what they would for other apparel in the store to purchase the Lands’ End branded products.
For many, it’s not a question of if they will buy but that they have to if Sears wants to ever get its business turned around. They point to the statistic that shows less than 20 percent of shoppers who buy hard goods at Sears also shop in its stores for clothing.
“The man who goes to Sears to buy a set of Craftsman tools,” said an unnamed source, “should also be buying a Lands’ End sports shirt there.”
Moderator’s Comment: Is Sears on the right track with its test of the Lands’ End branded store-within-a-store concept? Are the same consumers who buy
Craftsman, Kenmore, etc. from Sears also buying Lands’ End clothing? –
George Anderson – Moderator