LANDS' END EXTENDS SALES IN FAR EAST WITH LOCAL CATALOGS

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Proving that an all-American image sells well in the Far East, Lands' End is expanding in Asia to keep up with demand.

In Hong Kong and Singapore, Lands' End is offering a new catalog that features smaller sizes, clothes for the warmer climates, local customer service centers and local phone numbers for ordering.

Lands' End had been shipping its clothes mostly to Americans living in Asia. Now, more consumers in Asia are locals. In Singapore, about 60% of purchasers are local, and percentages are growing in Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan.

The direct marketer, which sells $1 billion of merchandise and distributes 194 million catalogs annually, also is considering more local-language Asian editions, including a Chinese-language version.

CHINESE EDITION ON HOLD

Lands' End will await results of the Hong Kong catalog before committing to a mainland Chinese edition, said Michael Grasee, director of international business development. A Japanese catalog has been available since 1994.

While catalog shopping is growing in Asia, buying directly from stores is ingrained in Asian cultures. Mr. Grasee noted that within the U.S., mail-order accounts for about 5% of retail sales compared to only 1.5% in Japan.

Except for variations such as sizes, Lands' End sells the same merchandise abroad as in the U.S.

"We've found that what sells in the U.S. also sells well in Asia," Mr. Grasee said. "In Asia, we've found that we need to stress brand image, our reputation and our history because catalog shopping is not as popular as it in the U.S.," he said.

With Lands' End relying on word-of-mouth endorsements, the Asia ad budget is limited to English-language magazines delivering high-end professionals. Ads are handled in-house.

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