LANDS' END DONS PLAN FOR EUROPEAN GROWTH

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Lands' End has targeted three European countries to take its practical sportswear and taste of Americana into new territories.

This month the specialty catalog company introduced toll-free numbers and local-currency catalogs in Germany, France and the Netherlands, supported by a barrage of local newspaper and magazine ads with the slogan, "Hello, we are Lands' End from America."

This follows the marketer's introduction in Japan last month and plans for an Australian catalog in mid-1995. Until last month, Lands' End had only one foreign-currency catalog, in the U.K.

International is a growth area, said William J. O'Neil, VP-international. Even without foreign-currency catalogs, orders trickle into Lands' End's headquarters in rural Dodgeville, Wis., from 175 countries.

The effort is coordinated from European headquarters in Oak-ham, England, 100 miles north of London.

Leading the European sales push is Henry Heavisides, who left Laura Ashley Holdings' U.K. mail order operation as general manager to become managing director of Lands' End U.K. early last year.

Print is being used because Lands' End's audience is well-educated and well-read, said Justin Metcalf, managing director, Sterling Marketing, a Lands' End consultant in London.

spending in the U.K. this year will be only $750,000, said Stephen Chapman, media director, MediaCom Direct, London, which with Grey Direct U.K. oversees advertising for the cataloger.

Company managers considered using a pan-European approach, but decided instead to use individual agencies in each country, Mr. Metcalf said.

FCB Direct's Hamburg office is doing the German ads, and Grey Direct's Amsterdam office is handling the Dutch ads. In France, two Paris agencies are in charge: Repondance Nouveau Langage and Passion Directe.

The ads in each country are largely the same, but are translated for cultural differences, Mr. Metcalf said.

The unabashedly American theme is an effort to capitalize on Europeans' high perceptions of U.S. retailing service.

"They are not hiding the fact that they are an American company," Mr. Chapman said. "They see that as a good thing."

Europe is an untapped and enticing market for Lands' End, but presents daunting challenges, including cultural differences, currency conversions and pricing issues. Buying from specialty catalogs is much less common than in the U.S.

In some countries such as Germany, catalogs are prevalent, but they are typically the former Sears-style catalogs by giant companies such as Otto Versand, parent of the U.S.' Spiegel, and Quelle, offering a wide range of products.

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