Amazon Helps British Merchant Unveil Its Brand in the U.S.
By Lisa Yorgey Lester
The launch of a new sports bra ordinarily doesn't attract a great deal of press. Then again, a tennis match at Grand Central Terminal between Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos and tennis siren Anna Kournikova is no ordinary event.
Bezos and Kournikova recently teamed up to promote the U.S. debut of the Anna Kournikova Multiway sports bra available to U.S. consumers through Figleaves, a London-based intimate apparel retailer that recently joined Amazon's Apparel & Accessories store.
Exclusivity and variety are Figleaves' unique selling proposition. The retailer sells leading swimwear, nightwear and hosiery brands for men and women in all sizes and price ranges. As part of the Apparel & Accessories store, Figleaves has brought about 100 brands to the U.S. market, many of which previously had been available only in Europe.
Orders currently placed with Figleaves through Amazon's site are fed into Figleaves' order processing system and fulfilled from its U.K. distribution center. The company plans to add a U.S. distribution
center within the next six months.
Until its affiliation with Amazon, Figleaves cautiously had been testing the U.S. market via its U.S. e-commerce-enabled Web site (figleaves.com) launched in December 2002. "We've always had global ambitions. The United States has a population several times the size of the U.K. population, and two or three times the shopping propensity," says Michael Ross, Figleaves' CEO. That the company already was receiving orders from U.S. customers via its U.K. Web site was an added incentive.
Figleaves has 20,000 U.S. customers who generate 10 percent of its overall sales, and Ross expects its affiliation with Amazon will further grow the business. He anticipates U.S. sales will equal the retailer's U.K. sales within 18 months. Current U.S. sales average two items per purchase and have an average order value of $100.