Lands’ End’s New Marketplace Focuses on Two Hot Categories
By Glenn Taylor
After nearly a year in beta, Lands’ End is officially launching its third-party marketplace to all sellers. The Lands’ End Marketplace will serve as a complementary component to its traditional apparel, outerwear and swimwear offerings, opening up sales to more categories that have proven successful over the past year.
The American apparel manufacturer and seller plans to expand its current list of suppliers to provide more options in retail categories that complement the current assortment and meet the demands of its growing customer base. The list spans an assortment of categories such as footwear, home decor and intimates alongside the full product assortment of the Lands’ End brand.
Lands’ End soft-launched Marketplace in June last year to beta test its integrated systems, hosting 24 sellers on the platform. The pilot “exceeded expectations” according to the retailer, leading to the formal launch.
The marketplace will use drop shipping for order fulfillment, it said. Additionally, Lands’ End operates a product catalog within the marketplace, which is designed to allow for greater visibility among partner brands.
While Lands’ End hasn’t shared details about the sellers joining the platform, it offer some direction of where the marketplace will focus. Over the holiday season, the retailer skewed the marketplace’s offerings toward home-related brands to align with consumer demand for decor, as shoppers continued to spend most of their time at home, Jerome Griffith, Lands’ End CEO, said in a fourth-quarter earnings call.
“We’re very pleased with the early reads on this initiative,” Griffith said in the March call. “As we learned from information derived from our search optimization tools, we recognized demand for products that were not core to the Lands’ End assortment. Through our marketplace strategy, we’re addressing our consumers’ needs with complementary product, and we’ll continue to explore opportunities to welcome third-party brands to our site.”
Eligible third-party brands must be able to drop ship their goods, connect to Lands’ End’s third-party EDI or browser-based order management platform, ship items through UPS and send accurate inventory daily. Additionally, they must have dedicated resources to respond to daily operations and issues and provide product imagery, color swatches and copy information for assortment.
The marketplace isn’t the only area Lands’ End appears to be primed for growth. In 2020, the company sought to extend its brand in new ways, bringing its product to Kohls.com and in 150 Kohl’s stores starting in September. Based on what the company describes as “strong early results,” Lands’ End plans to expand its assortment and increase the number of points of distribution to 300 Kohl’s stores in 2021.
The company will continue expanding its offering in 2021 in collaboration with Draper James on a swimwear collection for the spring/summer season.
Earlier this month, the company said its fourth-quarter revenue declined 2 percent to $538.4 million. But these totals included an approximately $40 million impact from the launch of its new uniforms for American Airlines flight attendants and customer service agents in March 2020. If the launch had been excluded from the totals, revenue would have increased by 5.6 percent.
Net income was $19.9 million or 60 cents per diluted share, as compared to net income of $25.5 million or 78 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019.
Like many apparel businesses, Lands’ End was challenged by the work-from-home environment throughout the pandemic, with its outfitters businesses taking a 54.2 percent sales hit in the fourth quarter. Excluding the American Airlines launch, sales in the division decreased 20.8 percent. This category covers three segments: school uniforms, SMBs and national businesses, all of which the company expects recovery to accelerate in 2021.
Lands’ End reports that it expects revenue in fiscal 2021 to be between $1.52 billion and $1.57 billion, ahead of the $1.43 billion reeled in in 2020. Net loss is projected to be between $8 million and $10.5 million, and diluted loss per share to be between 25 cents and 32 cents.
To advance its growth plans, Lands’ End has undergone an organizational overhaul. Chief financial officer James Gooch has been promoted to president. While he will retain his current role, as president, he will oversee the company’s e-commerce, international, outfitters, third-party and retail businesses. Chief customer officer Sarah Rasmusen was promoted to executive vice president and will oversee the company’s information technology and performance marketing functions.
Peter Gray, executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel, will oversee Lands’ End’s distribution center operations. In the earnings call, Griffith highlighted that the retailer has started the initial planning for a new warehouse management system.