L. L. Bean, Inc.
"OK, the agenda of the meeting is to review the status of our launch into Japan. You can see the topics and presenters on the list in front of you. Gregg, can you kick it off with a strategy review?"
"Happy to, Bob. We have assessed the possibilities, costs, and return on investment of opening up both store and catalog businesses in other countries. Early research has shown that both Japan and Germany are good candidates. Specifically, data show high preference for good quality merchandise, and a higher-than-average propensity for an active outdoor lifestyle in both countries. Education, age, and income data are quite different from our target market in the U.S., but we do not believe that will be relevant because the cultures are so different. In addition, the Japanese data show that they have a high preference for things American, and, as you know, we are a classic American company. Name recognition for our company is 14%, far higher than any of our American competition in Japan. European competitors are virtually unrecognized, and other Far Eastern competitors are perceived to be of lower quality than us. The data on these issues are quite clear.
"Nevertheless, you must understand that there is a lot of judgment involved in the decision to focus on Japan. The analyses are limited because the cultures are different and we expect different behavioral drivers. Also,