Despite Ruling, Gander Mountain Still Planning to Go Direct

Despite a ruling by a federal judge last week that it can’t use its own brand or logo in direct marketing, Gander Mountain is nonetheless planning to reenter the catalog and e-commerce arena.

“We’re still moving ahead to get into direct marketing, but the name on the cover is one of the smaller considerations if you’re trying to build a catalog or e-commerce site,” says Shannon Burns, director of investor relations for the St. Paul, MN-based sporting goods retailer. The company plans to have a catalog and an e-commerce-enabled Website by holiday 2006.

The Aug. 18 ruling came after a two-year legal battle between Gander and rival Cabela’s. In 1996, Gander had sold its direct business to Cabela’s for $35 million, forfeiting the right to use its name and logo in direct marketing campaigns. Later that year, while trying to avoid bankruptcy, Gander sold its stores to Holiday Cos.

Cabela’s and Gander filed lawsuits in 2003 shortly after Gander began selling shotgun barrels on its Website. Cabela’s claimed Gander violated their 1996 sales agreement, while Gander claimed the agreement wasn’t meant to give Cabela’s permanent control over its direct marketing.

Burns says Gander has not yet decided whether it will appeal the ruling. But she does say the company’s corporate counsel feels the judge ruled on a narrow issue and that there are other issues that he did not address.