Sears does best selling tools, auto parts and appliances and this fall will further pump up its macho side with an exclusive men’s collection inspired by Outdoor Life magazine.
This story first appeared in the May 7, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Our men’s customer at Sears for the most part thinks of himself as an outdoor man,” said Sheila Field, chief marketing officer, Sears Apparel, confirming a WWD scoop last week on the collaboration.
Field said Sears will officially launch Outdoor Life shops on Sept. 30 and that men’s apparel will be “the cornerstone” of the strategy.
Sears’ apparel offering has been one of the store’s soft spots, but Field said that with the addition of the Outdoor Life line, “We will have a compelling destination for this guy that no other retailer in the mall is providing.” She cited the Sears offering of sportswear, work wear, tools, sporting equipment, home appliances and electronics.
“The Outdoor Life apparel line will be the first store-exclusive brand for Sears, created particularly with the outdoorsman in mind,” added Lana Krauter, senior vice president, Sears Holdings, and president of Sears Apparel. “Through this collaboration, Sears and Outdoor Life will provide outdoorsmen with clothing that fits their lifestyle and their budget with convenient mall-based shopping.”
“This opportunity offers a perfect extension for the Outdoor Life brand,” said Eric Zinczenko, vice president and group publisher of the Bonnier Outdoor Group, publisher of Outdoor Life.
Men’s casual sportswear, performance apparel and functional hunting and fishing apparel under the Outdoor Life label will be sold at Sears stores and on sears.com. Cotton flannel shirts, thermal crews, Henley shirts, hooded fleece zip jackets, and cotton canvas cargo pants will be part of the line. For Outdoor Life, Sears cited “regular” prices ranging from $20 to $140, with T-shirts at the low end and outerwear being highest priced, though Sears is never shy about markdowns.
Sears’ most important doors will put up “enhanced” shops, while the balance of the 800-unit chain will get a tiered assortment, depending on the store size, to create Outdoor Life shops.
Marketing plans have yet to finalized, though Sears said the strategy will be multichannel, emphasizing media that targets men, and will include ads in fall and winter issues of Outdoor Life. According to Elizabeth Burnham, associate publisher at Outdoor Life, the magazine has a print circulation per issue of 750,000, and a total readership among adults 18 or older of 5,481,000.
Outdoor Life is the latest in a series of recent actions at Sears to step up development of exclusive brands, attempting to get better shopper traffic. Last year, the store launched its Kardashian Kollection, which is said to be selling well. The company has long-standing offerings from Joe Boxer and Everlast, and more recently added Hart & Huntington and Bongo to the lineup.