PLAYBOY SELLS COLLECTORS’ CHOICE CATALOG Four months after putting its Collectors’ Choice Music and Critics’ Choice Video catalogs on the market, Playboy Enterprises signed a letter of intent to sell Collectors’ Choice to Soundies, a Chicago-based music label/cataloger. Soundies, which specializes in previously unreleased jazz and big band music, will acquire the Collectors’ Choice Website as well and will continue to use the Chicago-based Playboy Catalog Group’s customer service and order fulfillment facilities. Gordon Anderson, vice president of Collectors’ Choice, will join Soundies. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close later this summer, were not disclosed.
DMA REPORTEDLY TO ABSORB NONPROFIT GROUP Following the consolidation trend of its members, the nonprofit Direct Marketing Association has done its own share of consolidating over the past few years. Having absorbed the Association for Interactive Media and the Internet Alliance over the past couple of years, the DMA at press time was expected to take over the National Federation of Nonprofits (NFN), a Washington-based legislative lobbying group for nonprofit organizations. The DMA would then merge the organization with its own nonprofit council, according to a report from the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, a postal affairs nonprofit lobbying organization. The deal was expected to be completed by July 1.
LANDS’ END LOWERS EXPECTATIONS In its first-quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, apparel cataloger Lands’ End says it now expects its sales for the first half of the year to be flat compared with last year’s. The company had previously forecast a low-single-digit sales increase. Lands’ End won’t comment on why it lowered its expectations.
J. CREW BOUNCES BACK Apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew Group posted an 11% first-quarter revenue gain. For the three months ended April 29, total sales were $158.8 million, up from $143.0 million a year ago. The company also enjoyed a nice bump in earnings before taxes of $5.0 million for the quarter, compared to just $100,000 for the same quarter last year. The catalog division, which includes online sales, improved a modest 2.7%, from $58.6 million in first-quarter sales last year to $60.2 million.
CALIFORNIA BILL PROPOSES TO TAX E-COMMERCE While the House of Representatives wants Internet taxes to be suspended for at least the next six years on a national level, in early June the California Assembly narrowly approved legislation that would force Internet marketers with a physical presence in the state to collect and remit taxes on all sales. The bill, AB 4212, was sent on to the state Senate following a 41-36 vote of approval (with nine abstentions) in the Assembly. Assemblywomen Carole Migden and Dion Aroner cosponsored the bill.
NORDSTROM ENTERS MEN’S BUSINESS CASUAL Upscale clothing cataloger/retailer Nordstrom has expanded its stable of catalog titles by adding a print book of men’s apparel in conjunction with the launch of its men’s online Business Casual Guide. The guide offers advice on how to select business casual clothing.
HANOVER DIRECT OPENS DISTRIBUTION CENTER Multititle cataloger Hanover Direct is leasing additional distribution space for its Keystone Fulfillment Services, a unit of its Internet subsidiary, Erizon. The Maumelle, AR-based facility had been occupied by the Venator Group, which owns Eastbay and San Francisco Music Box Co., although it has stopped mailing the latter’s catalogs while it seeks a buyer for that unit. The distribution center, which adds 700,000 sq. ft. to Hanover’s fulfillment capacity, will house 500 employees fulfilling product for such Internet clients as Oxygen Media and Kbkids.com.