London Fog may be at the head of the top 10 list of outerwear brands, but the company is working to stay one step ahead of the competition.
On the business front, the company this month divided itself into three independently managed businesses: Pacific Trail, London Fog Trade and London Fog Factory Outlet Stores. The new format is designed to further growth through a vertical operational structure, particularly for the Pacific Trail division. London Fog’s new “Global Style” ad campaign, shot in cities including London and Paris, is intended to keep consumers from viewing the brand as staid.
Winding up at number two in the survey is L.L. Bean, whose rugged wares have made it a staple for shoppers in search of comfortable, yet sturdy, fashions. The company is reportedly looking into purchasing Eddie Bauer, which finished fourth on the top 10 outerwear list. Last month L.L. Bean chief executive officer Chris McCormick said Eddie Bauer’s brand name, customer list and warehouses in Virginia and Ohio were selling points.
In recent years, L.L. Bean has broadened its outerwear beyond its signature barn jackets. The company also offers various price points for its best-selling styles, permitting shoppers with differing budgets to wear the brand’s outerwear. Last fall, for example, three-in-one jackets, which allow the wearer to regulate his or her body temperature, retailed for $89, $149 and $350.
After being acquired by Sears, Roebuck & Co. last year for $1.9 billion, Lands’ End — which landed in the number-three spot — began selling its merchandise, including coats, at its sister chain’s 870 doors.
Eddie Bauer has been trying in recent seasons to broaden its appeal as a sportswear-oriented option for outerwear. This spring, for example, it reproduced a small number of replica 1936 Eddie Bauer Skyliner goose down jackets for distribution in its stores. It also placed the jackets in gift baskets given to presenters at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Academy Awards.
Nautica, whose women’s outerwear offerings are offered solely through its Nautica Jeans Co. division, grabbed the number-five spot on the top 10 list. For fall, Nautica Jean Co.’s outerwear includes denim jackets, faux fur-lined down ski jackets and quilted cropped jackets with faux fur-lined hoods.
Occupying the number-six spot on the outerwear top 10 is Liz Claiborne coats, produced by The Levy Group. Part of the brand’s high consumer awareness lies in the fact that The Levy Group encourages Liz Claiborne to feature outerwear in its national advertising.
More shoppers are becoming familiar with Columbia Sportswear Co. since the Portland, Ore.-based company has focused on selling to department stores to supplement its specialty store business.
Jones New York, which ranked eighth, recently experienced a boost in sales following placement in a national Jones New York ad — which influenced consumers’ awareness of the brand’s outerwear. The line is produced under license by New York-based Amerex.
Calvin Klein, whose fashion empire spans several categories, landed a spot on the top 10 for his coats, produced by Fairbrooke Enterprises. To distinguish the collection from the younger CK line, Calvin Klein collection coats have more of a sophisticated flair and are made of more luxurious fabrics.
Like Columbia Sportswear, Pendleton hails from the Pacific Northwest in Tacoma, Wash. The company is seeking to expand its distribution to department and speciality stores, as well as expand its offerings of casual pieces by producing hooded coats and duffel coats.
1. London Fog
2. L.L. Bean
3. Lands’ End
4. Eddie Bauer
6. Liz Claiborne Coats
7. Columbia Sportswear
8. Jones New York
9. Calvin Klein Coats