Lands’ End is bullish on building its global business.
This story first appeared in the May 23, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The vertical retailer ships to more than 100 countries through its landsend.com U.S. portal, but only three countries — the U.K., Germany and Japan — have dedicated operations of their own. The company plans to bring online and catalogue operations to more countries and eventually launch stores of its own overseas.
“There’s tremendous opportunity for Lands’ End internationally,” said Bry Roskoz, senior vice president of international, who joined the company in April. “We’re taking a step back and doing a global assessment. We have strength. Some of the strongest countries [outside the U.S.] are Australia and Russia.”
Lands’ End is launching a partnership with a third party online retailer in Russia. “We’re doing a pilot and a test,” she said. “Other markets we’re assessing include China, which is on everybody’s list. There’s a lot we need to better understand about that market. We’re looking at the bigger territories [in China].”
The U.K., Lands’ End’s most established international market, has its own infrastructure with landsend.co.uk and a database of customers who receive catalogues in addition to visiting the Web site. U.K. operations include a distribution center, warehouse, call center, back office and marketing team. There’s also a product merchandising team that feeds trends and market-specific needs to the production department in the U.S. Sometimes a foreign market needs a specific color, and other times, it’s a new product.
“Our Japanese business, due to the climate, has a much bigger need for transitional outerwear, not heavy outerwear,” Roskoz said. “A couple of years ago, the product team in Japan [requested] a commuter coat for men.” The item was such a success, “our U.S. men’s team put it into the global line and featured it in the U.S. assortment.”
Germany has all the capabilities of the U.K., except for a distribution center. It does have the ability to process returns, and its marketing team manages Austria. The French marketing team works in the same location as the German team, but the product for France and Germany is managed from the U.K. distribution center.
Japan also has all the assets of the U.K., but it uses a third-party warehouse. Last year, Lands’ End introduced an in-store shop at the Hankyu department store in Osaka. “It’s been exceeding plans,” Roskoz said. “We’re looking to build on the success we’ve been piloting.”
Lands’ End operates only two outlet stores in the U.K. and Germany. “We’re actually looking at international retail opportunities,” Roskoz said. “It could be an in-store shop, a corner or freestanding [unit]. Retail is an opportunity. We also look at retail as an investment in brand awareness and a marketing vehicle for the Lands’ End brand internationally. It’s something that’s absolutely on our radar.”