Lands' End Taps School Pride

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Lands' End wants to entice college graduates who are proud of their alma maters when it debuts its Alumni Collection in its main fall catalog mailing in September.

Customers will be able to have logos from 35 universities sewn onto polo and oxford shirts, sweaters and turtlenecks. The cataloger was still negotiating with some universities and would not reveal any of the schools participating. It also had not determined how many pages it would devote to the collection within the fall catalog.

"We know that 88 percent of customers are college educated, and they will have an affinity with these universities, whether they are an alumni, a parent of an alumni or a fan of a sports program," said John Maher, director of licensing for the Dodgeville, WI, cataloger.

The majority of Lands' End customers are ages 35-54 who have household incomes of $74,000 and are college educated.

Maher, who was named to the newly created position this week, said the cataloger plans to expand its initial offering throughout the year and will focus on various athletic conferences.

"We will also work with some universities to acquire alumni lists to mail catalogs. We're going to see how those lists perform compared to our house file," Maher said. "We will also look at season-ticket-holder lists and boosters for additional names. We hope to get a better understanding of how the customer buys and what they are buying."

Depending on how well the logos are received, the cataloger could look at other initiatives such as a spin-off catalog or Web site.

"We think there is an opportunity to have more intimate relationships with the schools that generate [huge] volume," Maher said. "That might be a Web relationship, or a catalog relationship or even a sponsorship arrangement.

"We think the house file will perform well but we think there are people who may not be familiar with Lands' End who fit our demographics. This presents a great opportunity to reach those potential customers. Where we think there are pockets of new customers, we can look to deepen the relationships with those colleges."

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