Sears will transform New York’s Times Square into a campsite today to introduce customers to its new Outdoor Life men’s private brand.
This story first appeared in the October 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Outdoor Life launched at all 800 Sears doors last month, and Sheila Field, chief marketing officer of Sears Apparel, said the initial response has been strong. “We just launched it, and we’ve had great results,” she said.
The collection focuses on casual sportswear, performance apparel and functional hunting and fishing apparel and is a partnership with Bonnier Corp.’s Outdoor Life magazine.
Among the strongest sellers have been colored Henleys, flannel shirts, thermals and vests, she said, noting that the merchant team is “scrambling” to reorder the Henleys, which are available in around 10 shades.
“We have such a strong tools and hardline business at Sears, and we get a lot of male customers in our stores that have a big outdoor lifestyle,” she said. “We looked at the white space in the mall and saw that no one addressed this.” Although stores such as REI and Cabela’s target this customer, their stores are generally not found in traditional malls. “So we saw a big opportunity.”
To help get the word out, Field said Sears will re-create a campsite in the center of Times Square from noon to 5 p.m. today.
“We wanted to create excitement around the launch and have customers come take a look at the product, the quality and the color,” she said. “We will have a photo booth and prize wheels for people who answer questions about Outdoor Life.”
Actor Peter Facinelli of “Twilight” fame will be on-site signing autographs from 2:30 to 4:30. “Peter is a great outdoors guy and will help us promote it,” she said.
She said Facinelli is not the face of the brand but signed on for the event in part because of his interest in preserving outdoor space.
Sears Holdings Corp. doesn’t have a store in Manhattan and will not be selling the line during the event, but will have iPads there for customers to place orders.
Field said despite the initial success of Outdoor Life, there are no immediate plans to launch any other private men’s brands right now. “We’re focusing on this, but we’re always looking at new ideas to reinvent our business,” she said. “We are in an apparel turnaround at Sears right now, and we will continue to look at opportunities to grow.”