WWD.com/retail-news/retail-features/ppr-s-redcats-usa-targets-trendy-minded-customers-495399/
government-trade
government-trade

PPR’s Redcats USA Targets Trendy-Minded Customers

Redcats USA is on the prowl for trendier shoppers.

Redcats USA is on the prowl for trendier shoppers.

In a bid to widen its demographic to include younger consumers, the Internet and catalogue fashion, lifestyle and leisure home shopping company owned by Paris-based retail and luxury conglomerate PPR has turned to recent winners of “America’s Next Top Model” to spotlight its Metrostyle label, one of the 11 brands within the Redcats USA portfolio.

The company has snagged season two winner Yoanna House, who is featured on the spring 2007 cover of the company’s Metrostyle catalogue, while model Dani Evans is planned for the upcoming fall catalogues that hit newsstands in July and August.

Eric Faintreny, president and chief operating officer of the New York-based Redcats USA, said one of the company’s top goals is to become more of a fashion authority in consumers’ minds by adding trendy items in a speedier way.

To begin with, the company has updated Metrostyle catalogues and Web sites with stronger, trendier and younger-minded photography and product assortments. To help attract the consumer even further, the company has added marketing tactics such as an online sweepstakes where one shopper can win $10,000.

Tactics such as these follow the strategic name change in January in which Metrostyle and metrostyle.com replaced former catalogue names Lerner and lernercatalog.com.

Redcats USA also just opened two design studios, one in New York and another in Boston, with a combined total of 15 on-staff designers. Both in-house ateliers are being expanded this year due to the company’s growth. The company also works closely with design schools across the country to recruit talent.

“These are big initiatives. We’re taking more aggressive steps to refresh our fashion positioning and add more designer and contemporary styling into our women’s lines, which also include Jessica London, Soft Focus, Roaman’s and Chadwick’s, in addition to Metrostyle,” Faintreny said.

Faintreny said because of new sourcing capabilities, the company has already started to offer trends faster for the consumer.

“Our designer segment is growing,” he said. “We are starting to see younger and more trend-conscious shoppers as a result of these initiatives. At the same time, we continue to offer our established, as well as new, customers what they’re craving in fashion in misses’, career and casual.”

This story first appeared in the May 24, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Redcats USA’s customer base includes women in their 20s to those age 40 and over, he said.

“We are moving fast in our branding efforts, making a stronger design focus in our catalogue collections and on the Internet, including offering designer and trend boutiques,” added Faintreny, noting there are tentative plans to do branded television spots for some of its labels later this year.

Other marketing outreach tactics include links on Internet fashion searches, and mailing catalogues and e-mails to prospective shoppers.

The company’s average purchase varies by brand, but is usually around $70, including a complete outfit with shoes.

Redcats USA, which generated $1.5 billion in total sales in 2006, has an active customer base of at least seven million shoppers from a total database of nearly 40 million names, reflecting low single-digit growth since last year. The company mails about 750 million catalogues a year and had 51 million unique visitors to its Web sites in 2006. Faintreny said the company’s Internet business is growing by double-digits.

Brands in the Redcats USA portfolio include Metrostyle, Chadwick’s, Woman Within, Jessica London, Roaman’s, La Redoute USA, KingSize, BrylaneHome, BrylaneHome Kitchen, The Sportsman’s Guide and The Golf Warehouse. The diverse product range includes women’s contemporary apparel, misses’, plus sizes, petites, men’s apparel, home, lifestyle, sports and outdoor. Redcats’ parent company, PPR, also owns brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent.