MM.LaFleur Dresses for Success

In the world of retail, particularly in that subset of E-commerce stores that are expanding into brick and mortar, no company is getting as much attention as MM.LaFleur.

The women’s apparel company has apparently found a previously underserved niche: business women willing to pay good money for office-appropriate attire. This is the place for women seeking something that’s more serious than athleisure and more tasteful than what can be found in off-price or department stores. At a time when seemingly every retailer is looking to sell comfortable clothes to Millennials, MM.LaFleur is selling timeless classics to women 30- to 50- years old.

The target shopper works in an industry like finance or government where there’s still a dress code (although perhaps unspoken.) MM.LaFleur apparel aims to be flattering, but avoids anything that could possibly be considered provocative. Nothing is too short, too tight, too revealing or too trendy.

Perhaps more interestingly, MM.LaFleur also runs counter to the fast-fashion craze. MM.LaFleur doesn’t offer discounts, and sticks to its higher-than-$200 price point.

And it would appear, at least anecdotally, that MM.LaFleur’s approach is working. The press coverage for the start-up is overwhelmingly positive.

And that had Checkout TrackingSM wondering about the potential impact of MM.LaFleur. So we examined the data.

We looked at buyers of women’s apparel, age 30 to 50, who spent more than $200 on apparel in at least one purchase over a 12-month period, both online and in brick/mortar.

Here are a few of the interesting data points we noted:

  • Nordstrom picks up more than 13 percent of the $200+ apparel spend, with an average spend per purchase of $429.72.
  • Bloomingdales has a much smaller piece of the spend (roughly 5 percent), but has a comparable average spend per purchase of $425.98.
  • Amazon has an average spend per purchase of $304.20, with only a 2 percent share.
  • Dillard’s is similar: an almost 3 percent piece of the $200+ apparel spend, with an average spend per purchase of $302.29.
  • Macy’s average spend per purchase is $302.73, while its share of the spend is 8.3 percent.
  • Women’s specialty retailers, somewhat surprisingly, didn’t fare very well. The only such company with more than 2 percent of the share of spend is Victoria’s Secret.

Of course none of this proves that MM.LaFleur will succeed with its $200+, keep-it-classy approach. Retail, after all, is a fickle business.

But it does show that there are a lot of retailers with a lot to lose should MM.LaFleur continue to attract attention and consumers.

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