Lands End in Kmart?

Landsend080905The CEO of Land’s End, Mindy Meads, left the company abruptly late last week.

The reason for her departure was not announced, but insiders say Mindy objected to the plan to place Lands End clothing in Kmart.

I would have left, too.   Read the full article in Adage.

Industry watchers said Ms. Meads’ abrupt departure followed a battle with Sears executives on expanded distribution of the brand in both Sears and Kmart stores. The internal battle raises the question: If even an insider is questioning the combined value of the Sears/Kmart retail brand, what other brands might follow?

FYI –Sears acquired Lands’ End for $1.8 billion in 2002 , and Sears, Roebuck & Co. merged with Kmart Holding Corp. earlier this year to create Sears Holding Corp.

There is a clear divergence here between what’s best for the company – Sears Holding Corp, and what’s best for the brand – Lands End.

Come on – Upscale, preppy Lands End in Kmart? I’m sorry folks – clothing is a different animal than housewares. Sure Martha Stewart has a line in Kmart, but I have no problem buying housewares from Kmart. I DO have a BIG problem with buying clothing from Kmart. I wouldn’t be caught dead buying clothes there – putting my favorite brand into Kmart isn’t going to make me shop for clothing there, it’s going to make me think less of my favorite brand.

ChicagoNeil Stern, a retail consultant with McMillan Doolittle in Chicago sems to agree.

What do you guys think?

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15 Responses to Lands End in Kmart?

  1. Marketing to Women Online: Lands End in Kmart?

    Holly’s written an interesting take on the squabbles inside of Kmart/Sears to start carrying Lands End products in their stores. I agree. It will likely do much harm to the exclusive brand name that Lands End has spent decades building.

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