A year ago at this time, Lands’ End was struggling and former CEO Federica Marchionni was close to her resignation. The company numbers weren’t trending well and the iconic brand was searching for answers.
Fast forward to September 2017, armed with new CEO Joseph Griffith, the brand recorded second-quarter numbers of $302.2 million, compared to $292.0 million in the second quarter last year; direct segment net revenue increased 5.5 percent, to $259.9 million; and same-store sales for the quarter rose 3.8 percent.
When Marchionni resigned last year, the company’s Board of Directors concluded that, to return to sustained profitable growth, new leadership was needed.
Griffith is pleased and optimistic about where the company stands fiscally and operationally.
“We’re very pleased with the progress that we made on several initiatives during the second quarter, as evidenced by positive results across a number of key metrics,” Griffith said during the company’s recent second-quarter earnings call. “We saw improved performance in our U.S. Consumer business, positive comps on our Retail business, stabilization in international markets, and significant improvement in our customer files. Throughout the quarter, we remained focused on delivering a consistent brand vision across our business and took steps to further enhance our product offering, marketing strategy, and customer engagement.”
Griffith said company officials continue to successfully invest their marketing dollars toward digital and print media, which has driven traffic and strong customer response. He noted positive trends in the company’s U.S. Consumer business and its retail channel.
He outlined four priorities that, if executed properly, will help strengthen the Lands’ End market position in the long term. These include driving growth across the business, establishing a customer-centric culture, elevating business processes. and improving infrastructure.
“First and foremost, we want to drive growth across our business,” Griffith explained. “. A key part of this will be enhancing our assortment with relevant and compelling products that meet the quality and fit standards that are reflective of the Lands’ End heritage. We’re committed to not only meeting, but exceeding, the expectations of our customers who are looking for clothing that’s comfortable and functional, that serves the need within their wardrobe and fits into their relaxed lifestyle. That is what we strive to deliver. Importantly, they want newness. They love our classics, but they also want an updated look that fits well and matches their style. While we still have work to do, we’re making progress, and I believe we’re in a much better position from a product development perspective than we were at the beginning of the year. We see a strong response in outerwear and swimwear where our customers recognize our core competencies and quality offerings.”
A primary focus for Lands’ End is to build upon its e-commerce and digital capabilities.
“For many years, we’ve operated as a catalog business with a complementary online email and digital presence,” Griffith explained. “We’ve been working to shift the relationship among these direct channels and bring our marketing expertise to the digital world. To do this, we will first focus on upgrading our technology platforms. Currently, we utilize multiple e-commerce platforms across our business, and we will work to rationalize and enhance this key infrastructure in the future. We also intend to integrate emerging technologies so our customers have the tools necessary to easily explore, shop, and utilize and share social feedback on our products regardless of the device they use.”
Russ Haswell, vice president, retail, Medallia, told Loyalty360 that Lands’ End is heading in the right direction by keeping a strong focus on the customer.
“In a world where the most customer-obsessed companies win, Lands’ End is working hard to create a customer-centric culture,” Haswell explained. “Many retailers are finding success during a challenging time by focusing on customer-centric innovation.”
Evan Magliocca, brand marketing manager for Baesman Insights & Marketing, told Loyalty360 Land’s End is one of the few retailers posting positive comp-store sales and double-digit e-commerce growth.
“Many retailers today are seeing those trend in opposite directions,” Magliocca explained. “It shows a promising future for Land’s End. Perhaps more important is that Land’s End is starting to grow its customer file. It grew double digits this quarter. That means its best marketing drivers are ahead of them through lifecycle planning. Lands’ End should see strong growth as it begins implementing engagement models to build RFM and loyalty through its expanded file.”