New La Redoute Spin-off Already a Success

In its first two months, children’s apparel spin-off La Redoute Kids has exceeded projections by 20% — even though parent company La Redoute USA has yet to mail a single copy.

Redoute, a division of French conglomerate Pinault Printemps Redoute, in April began enclosing copies of La Redoute Kids in outgoing catalog packages of its women’s apparel title La Redoute. But Redoute, which plans to distribute 150,000 Kids books via the package insert campaign, will mail the catalog twice a year starting in August.

The first mailing is scheduled to coincide with the back-to-school season, says Victor Essoka, senior vice president/general manager for La Redoute USA. At press time, Essoka was estimating that the mailing quantity would be about 300,000. About half of the books will go to La Redoute USA customers, the rest to names rented from other catalogs. A second mailing will follow next spring.

“It will be very profitable for us, because we’re able to send this to customers who’ve bought from us in the main La Redoute USA catalog,” Essoka says. As with the La Redoute catalog, “our goal is still to be able to cater to young middle-class women, ages 25-45 with an average income of $50,000-$75,000.”

La Redoute Kids’ edge in the crowded children’s clothing market is its unique designs and low prices, Essoka says. “The clothes in the Kids catalog are not what you’d typically find in a Gap or other stores that sell kids’ products — they’re more what you’d find in boutiques.”

For now, La Redoute Kids’ prices average $15-$20 for casual and dressy clothing for youngsters ages 2-15. The cataloger plans to gradually increase the price points by introducing some designer brands. La Redoute is trying the same strategy with its mainline apparel catalog, increasing average price points by $5-$10.

But Redoute is proceeding cautiously. “We’re not looking to shock customers with price increases,” Essoka says. “The more expensive items will only be extensions of our offerings.” Since most customers buy about three items an order, with the slightly higher price points, “the average ticket [for the women’s catalog] should get to the $90-$100 mark, which is where we want to be.”

The company, which is based in sister cataloger Brylane’s New York offices, uses all of Brylane’s resources, including marketing, creative, fulfillment, IT, and database maintenance. La Redoute Kids is the division’s third U.S. catalog, following La Redoute and La Redoute Femme, which targets plus-size women. The books mail in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, and France as well as in the U.S.