A Case Study on Lady Foot Locker: the Lobo Launch

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I. Statement of the Problem

Based upon the critical issues stated in the case, Wyatt wondered if LFL should consider bringing a Lobo shoe to market in partnership with Reebok. Was there retail potential in a signature product built around an emerging professional women’s player such as Rebecca Lobo? Did it make sense financially?

II. Objectives of the Study

This study seeks the following objectives:
- to be able to understand the market potential of LFL shoes in partnership of Reebok - to determine the profitability of the partnership and the launch - to know whether the decision of being partners with Reebok on the Lobo launch was a good idea

III. Scopes and Limitations of the Study

The study includes the current situation of Woolworth Corporation, the LFL, its consumers and Reebok. The nature of the company LFL., the organizational background of the company and the different strategies that the company has already done to the specific product line of athletic shoes and apparel, are also some scopes included in the study.

The study however, is limited with only secondary data based on personal interviews and field research and was written solely as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective retail and marketing strategy practices.

This study has recommendations and points of view that are based from my own perspectives and thinking as a marketing student.

IV. Nature of the Research

A. Woolworth Corporation
Woolworth Corporation’s Athletic Group included LFL, Foot Locker, World Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Going to The Game and many more. The athletic group, Woolworth’s largest and most profitable business unit, operated 3,588 stores in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and led the industry in sales of branded athletic footwear and apparel in the US.

As part of its growing strategy, the Athletic Group had continually introduced new store designs that combined trend-setting product assortments with exciting retail environments. Historically, its largest proportion of sales and net income were generated during the Back-To-School season in August.

B. Lady Foot Locker
LFL’s first retail store opened in 1982 in Joliet, Illinois. As of 1997, LFL operated approximately 650 stores across the United States and in Puerto Rico, primarily in shopping malls. LFL was the premier retailer of athletic footwear, apparel and related products for women, carrying major brands of athletic footwear and apparel for a variety of sports and fitness activities, including running, fitness and basketball. LFL prided itself in providing the best in woman-to-woman service and product selection. Its stores typically ranged from 800-1,200 square feet of selling space. Besides operating retail store sales, LFL had recently initiated a mail-order catalogue.

C. The LFL Consumer
LFL targeted the 18-34 year-old active female. According to management, this woman was active in sports, fitness and family life. The 12-17 year-old teen female represented an important secondary market. Management believed that sales occurred across broad age segments, and thus considered the LFL customer to be “ageless”.

LFL executives believed that 12-17 year-old female consumers were increasingly critical to reach because of their present and future buying power. Traditionally, Reebok held a relatively low share of this segment compared to other brands such as Nike and Adidas.

D. Reebok
Reebok International consisted of 3 principal operating units: The Reebok Division, the Rockport Company, and the Greg Norman Collection (golf apparel). Reebok designed, marketed, and distributed sports, fitness, and casual footwear, apparel, and equipment. Although Reebok products were sold in approximately 170 countries, the US was Reebok’s single largest market.

E. Rebecca Lobo
Rebecca Lobo attended the University of Connecticut 1992-1995...
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