Now that it’s back in the black, Lands’ End says it has big plans for its store base and is planning to open up to 60 new stores in the next five years.
The Dodgeville, Wisc.-based apparel brand, spun off by Sears Holdings back in 2014, is plotting its expansion with the understanding that sales from the nearly 200 Lands’ End shops tucked inside Sears stores are “going away,” says Jerome Griffith, Lands’ End CEO, in a presentation at an investor conference.
The company’s news comes as Sears continues to spiral closer to the brink, this week announcing its sales fell more than 16% in the November through December holiday period. And while it has secured an additional $100 million in new financing, it is considering “all other options.”
Griffith says Lands’ End, back on track after last month reporting its first quarterly profits in two years, is righting the missteps of a period of inconsistency, with the goal of reaching $2 billion in revenues within five years.
It plans to open between four and six new stores this year, Griffith says, starting in Chicago. “We’ll test and learn on these stores before rolling them out,” he says, with plans for between 40 and 60 to open in the next five years. “We have a customer who likes to shop in stores,” he says, not just for shopping but for easy returns as well.
Some 90% of its sales are digital, and the company, an e-commerce pioneer, is committed to building its customer base. He says it will do so by concentrating on four key areas: Outerwear, pants, swim and knits. Its role as the official outfitter of the Weather Channel, he says, is already paying off in greater awareness.
The company, a leading uniform supplier, also announced a key new contract, signing on American Airlines’ flight service, airport customer service and premium customer services, outfitting some 51,000 employees with about 1.8 million items. It will begin testing items this October and plans to have them available in late 2019.
American Airlines employees have been embroiled in a controversy about previous uniforms, after thousands of complaints that the uniforms had caused allergic reactions.