Live from Shop.org: Lands’ End, Sears Integration “Remarkably” Smooth

New York–Shop.org attendees who sat in on the Thursday morning keynote speech of Sears, Roebuck & Co. chairman/president/CEO Alan Lacy hoping to hear of the blood, sweat, and tears involved in the retailer’s integration of Lands’ End were disappointed. Little more than a year after Sears bought the apparel and home goods cataloger, Lacy described the integration as having gone “remarkably well.

The back-end operations of Sears and Lands’ End remain separate, Lacy said, but not because the company hasn’t yet gotten around to integrating them. Whereas Lands’ End sells apparel and other soft goods almost exclusively, Sears also delivers large appliances and tools, so their warehouses require distinct configurations and equipment. “Both systems work for each party,” Lacy said, “so we’ll look to upgrade and enhance” rather than integrate.

In terms of customer database synergies, although the files aren’t merged, “we’re off to a good start making sure the Sears file is available to Lands’ End,” Lacy said. For instance, Lands’ End now has easy access to the plus-size consumers on the Sears buyer file, to which it can send catalogs touting its plus-size and custom-fit apparel.

The greatest challenge in introducing the Lands’ End apparel to Sears stores was an intangible one. “Lands’ End has a northern bias and not a very strong multicultural customer base,” Lacy explained. “Sears is a national chain with a very strong multicultural customer base.” As of Sept. 8, Lands’ End clothing was available in all 870 Sears stores.

Online, Sears is relaunching its flagship Website next week. Lacy expects to be selling apparel on the site by the end of next year. The Website, whose offerings include 35,000 SKUs of appliances, became profitable last year.

Shop.org’s Annual Summit runs through Sept. 26 at the Grand Hyatt in New York.

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