Older brands targeting younger market online

It might have been around since 1963, and been trading over the internet in the UK since way back in 1995, but clothing retailer Lands’ End has only this month started selling goods to the younger end of the market on its British website.

It’s taken since 1963, but Canvas has landed

It follows another long-established mail-order/online retailer N. Brown in recognising that its core customer is not getting any younger and that attracting a more youthful crowd has its benefits because they typically – have plenty of disposable income, a greater willingness to spend more money on fashion, and an increased propensity to shop online rather than over the phone.

For N. Brown the decision to target this new grouping came when it started playing around with younger brands like Simply Be and found this was a more than welcome addition to its core 50-plus year-old customer base.

At US-based Lands’ End the prompt to go-young has been the appearance of Sheffield-born Nick Coe into the chief executive’s seat at the company’s HQ in the superbly-named Dodgeville in Wisconsin. He reckons he has brought a new perspective to the organisation.

The new range, Canvass, is aimed at an early-30s age group whereas the core Lands’ End range is for 45 to 50-year-olds who Coe admits were nearer the age of 30 when they first become customers of the company many years ago.

The UK launch of Canvas follows its appearance in the US 12 months ago where Coe says it might only represent a small percentage of group sales at present but it is growing fast.

I’ll have some of that – clothing

So much so in fact that he expects it to account for as much as 50% of total group sales within a five to 10-year timeframe. This will represent a truly meteoric change and suggests that if Coe’s forecasts are correct then there is little wonder that Asos is placed on such a high valuation by the City.

This injection of growth from the younger demographic has also been seen at N. Brown where its financials show that the average age of its customer base is declining as growth in sales of its younger lines far outstrip those of its ranges aimed at its traditional older grouping.

At Lands’ End it might have taken 47 years but under Coe’s short stewardship the company seems to have sussed the obvious – that young people are the future.