September 4, 2002, 12:00 AM

More Lands’ End customers ditching standard sizes in favor of ‘size you’

Lands’ End is expanding its custom clothing option beyond chinos, where it already accounts for more than 10% of category sales, into men’s shirts and men’s and women’s slacks in a variety of fabrics.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Lands’ End Custom has been a winner for Lands’ End – so much so that the custom-fit clothing option which debuted online last fall with custom chinos will expand this fall into men’s tailored shirts and men’s and women’s’ pants in new fabrics and styles.

Lands’ End has not disclosed revenues from its custom line, which added custom jeans this spring, but says sales of the custom chinos have topped the company’s initial goal of 10% of sales for the category. The custom line, available online only, has also become an important customer acquisition tool: 25% of the buyers of custom pants and jeans are new to the company.

“We’re changing how people shop for clothing, today and for years to come,” says Bill Bass, senior vice president of e-commerce for Lands’ End. ‘No longer are customers pushed into a pre-fabricated bucket of ‘size 10’ or ‘32-34.’ They can now buy ‘size you’.”

Lands’ End has said the return rate for the custom clothing is lower than the industry average of about 6.5%, though initially the return rate for the custom pants was higher. Based on ongoing feedback, the company has made a number of refinements to the algorithms driving the software that generates the individual patterns for custom pants to improve fit. Lands’ End says that in addition to the custom-tailored shirts and pants, custom swimwear and men’s suits are in development for next year.

A recent Harris Interactive poll suggests a pent-up demand for custom clothing among American consumers. Less than half of Americans are content with buying clothing off the rack, while two-thirds experience difficulty finding the right garments in the right size off the rack, and 20% say that finding clothing that fits is one of their greatest challenges.

 

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