Eddie Bauer’s direct sales slip 13%

First-quarter direct sales at Eddie Bauer Holdings, the parent company of Redmond, WA-based apparel and home goods cataloger/retailer Eddie Bauer, fell 13%, to $54.6 million, for the period ended April 1. After the first quarter of 2005, direct sales were $62.8 million. Total revenue for the first quarter sank 14%, to $194.5 million, compared with $221.9 million after the first quarter last year.

The company reported a historical net loss of $35.6 million for the first quarter, compared to a net loss of $8.6 million after the first quarter in 2005.

“Clearly we’re very disappointed with these results,” CEO Fabian Mansson said during a conference call. “In hindsight, we believe we made too many changes and some of these were not in keeping with our outdoor heritage and our core customer’s needs. We’ve learned a valuable lesson and we’re moving forward aggressively to get our business back on track.”

Last week Eddie Bauer officials announced plans to explore strategic alternatives to increase shareholder value, including a possible sale of the 86-year-old company. Eddie Bauer, which has retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. to advise on potential strategies, has been on and off the selling block for the past two years.