Sears opens Lands’ End Ministores

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DISCUSSION TOPIC

Big hopes for ministores – 2/19/08

Sears tries to boost sales by giving Lands’ End products their own space
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TOPIC SUMMARY:

Retailer Sears, a part of Sears Holdings, has struggled for years to get shoppers to go to its stores for more than drills and refrigerators. But remakes pitching the “softer side of Sears” didn’t do the trick. So now Sears is trying another tactic — creating complete Lands’ End stores-within-a-store — in the hope that it can capitalize on the brand.  At its store in Hunt Valley Towne Centre, the retailer has dedicated about half of the first floor, about 24,000 square feet, to Lands’ End, a preppy outdoor and apparel brand.

Department stores say the ministores give consumers another reason to shop at their stores. Companies such as Polo, Sephora, Under Armour and Sprint say setting up in larger stores gives them access to prime real estate. They also said their products sell better in ministores than if the merchandise were scattered around various departments.

Analysts said Sears’ continuing weak sales — the company announced a restructuring and the departure of its chief executive officer last month — indicate that Sears might be depending too much on Lands’ End.

Discussion questions: What is your take on Sears’ latest attempt to redefine their apparel offering?  Can a Lands End ministore work for Sears like Under Armour ministores work for Dick’s Sporting Goods?  Click on “comments” below to post your views.

My post:

The concept of the ministore has worked for years and has recently come back strong in the form of exclusives, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Martha Stewart at Macy’s, and Chaps at Kohl’s.  So the idea of using their exclusive on Lands’ End to set up significant ministores is logical.  The problem is that few people think about Sears as a place to buy apparel, leaving the Lands’ End shops as incongruous.  I don’t think this effort will hurt sales by any means and should create some interest for those who do recognize that the brand is only available in Sears if they want to see it in person.  However, the larger problem of Sears’ “reason for existence” remains in question.  They might have better luck doing a Lands’ End exclusive with Macy’s or Kohl’s and avoiding the expense to implement this concept throughout the Sears store portfolio.  Only time will tell – stay tuned.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

http://www.osoriogroup.com/

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GO TO THE FULL ARTICLE AT BALTIMORESUN.COM:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.sears19feb19,0,7919651,full.story     

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2 Responses to Sears opens Lands’ End Ministores

  1. SHC Fan says:

    It might work but not as well as a standalone 15K sq ft Lands End store in a strip mall or indoor mall in a neighborhood with matching demographics would. Same with Kenmore, Craftsman, Joe Boxer, etc. – standalone stores in strip malls, factory outlet malls, traditional malls without a Sears store anchor, etc., etc., etc. Keep operating costs down, have a nice selection, pay the salespeople well based upon production where non-performers make regular mall store wages and huge performers can make 40-60K per year. Give managers more lattitude in using their creativity as far as display disposition and inventory (there would obviously be small stockrooms in these stores) and let them give it a whirl. Put the Craftsman outlet next to a ladieswear store so dad can go and hide in there while mom shops for clothing bargains; Kenmore outlet next to a competing anchor, etc.

  2. Mike Osorio says:

    Interesting idea. And with so many mall-based retailers closing stores by the dozens, Sears could find some attractive lease rates. Wilson’s Leater just anouced they are closing 160 mall stores (http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2008/02/18/daily18.html) and Sharper Image just declared bankruptcy (http://www.latimes.com/business/investing/wire/sns-ap-retail-bankruptcies,1,590401.story). Lots of spots for Sears to choose from. I also like you description of good pay for top performers. This is the only way we will save retail – make sales into a well-paying respected profession.

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