Eddie Bauer Targets Bigger Prospects

Eddie Bauer is hoping that bigger is better when it comes to plus-size offerings. The cataloger/retailer is launching the 76-page Eddie Bauer Woman with a 1 million-name mailing on Aug. 26. About 40% of the recipients are customers who had bought plus-size apparel from Eddie Bauer in the past. The other 60% are prospects whose names were rented from or exchanged with other plus-size apparel mailers or catalogers with a size select.

Eddie Bauer began offering plus sizes, along with apparel for petite and tall women, back in 1994; the Redmond, WA-based company expanded its line of plus-size clothing in September. “The stand-alone book will create interest in the plus-size apparel,” says chief marketing officer Engle Saez, “which will increase sales and prompt us to keep adding more and more merchandise and increase the amount we sell to existing buyers and prospects.” Because the new catalog will make it easier for customers to find their sizes, Eddie Bauer expects to see a higher average order value and more units per transaction than it does from the core apparel catalog, Saez says. Eddie Bauer Women will sell items ranging from accessories for $12 to outerwear for $398.

The company had three compelling reasons to launch Eddie Bauer Woman, Saez says. First was the success of other mailers, including apparel cataloger/retailer Talbots and Eddie Bauer parent company Spiegel, in the plus-size arena. Second, the U.S. Census revealed that Americans are getting bigger. “The population is getting older, and that segment is typically a bit bigger, but they are fashionable boomers looking for comfort and fashion in their size, and they want it to be accessible and easy to shop within a catalog,” Saez says. And finally, and perhaps most promising, is that 40% of the customers in Eddie Bauer’s 15 million-name house file have purchased larger sizes in the past.

The spin-off comes as Eddie Bauer is undergoing a repositioning “back to the outdoor-inspired Americana gear that it [sold] five years ago,” Saez says. Rather than emphasizing glamorous models and settings, the company is renewing its focus on the product — specifically on outerwear. “You will see this change reflected in this new catalog as well,” Saez promises.

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