Lands’ End wants to be a big name player again.
Chief executive officer Jerome Griffith outlined a strategy to grow sales to between $1.8 billion to $2 billion over the next five years, as well as open between 4o and 50 Lands’ End stores over the same period.
Griffith spoke at the ICR Conference on Monday. According to the ceo on why he joined the firm, Lands’ End is a “great American brand. Not too often do you get a chance to go into a company that has a big future in front of it, is undervalued and really not living up to its potential.”
He also spoke about the company’s history of innovation — the first to offer a toll free number 24/7, first to accept a credit card for payment, two-day shipping as the standard with no surcharge — and noted how that changed after it was acquired by Sears Holdings. And as Sears continues to shrink its store base, Griffith said at some point it probably will no longer have any stores inside a Sears location. There are 180 such locations.
The company has 11 owned stores, and a new a store concept that will be unveiled later this year in Chicago. There are plans to open four or five this year via a test-and-learn model before it begins rolling out the stores.
Griffith said a priority for the company is to expand its customer base, a component of the business that he said has been going down since 2010 as the company was mismanaged. He added that in 2018, the company is “coming off losing money a year ago” and is “starting to get profitable again.”
On the merchandising side, its four primary categories that provide high dollar volume and greater margins are outerwear, swim, pants and knits.
Griffith said the company could do a better job using data analytics, noting that there’s “good data that the company is not even looking at.” It already knows who is buying at full price and who is looking for a discount and at what range. According to the ceo, “Not everybody needs to get a promotion,” noting that some will pay full price, others are looking for between a 10 to 20 percent discount, and still others are seeking a 40 percent promotion off to get them to buy.
Further, the company’s mind-set is now on digital first, such as thinking about how a product looks on mobile whereas before it was more about how does the product look on paper in the print catalogue.
Another avenue for growth is wholesale via third-party business-to-consumer sales. It is already using a similar program in the U.K., and is looking at ways to grow that channel.
While Lands’ End doesn’t typically provide any guidance on outlook, Griffith said the company is planning on growing to $1.8 billion to $2 billion in sales over the next five years. Another secret weapon is the growth of its Lands’ End Outfitters program, or LEO, which is focused on uniforms for businesses and schools.