Flax Puts Reliable HomeOffice on the Selling Block

Brisbane, CA-based cataloger/retailerFlax Art & Design has put its Reliable HomeOffice catalog business up for sale. Acquired out of bankruptcy in September 2002 along with leather goods mailer T. Shipley, Reliable sells office furnishing to the small office/home office (SOHO) market. It has a house file of more than 330,000 names; the average order value is more than $180.

According to Flax president Martin McClanan, the sale of the business will allow Flax to concentrate on maintaining double-digit growth for its core art supplies and gifts business and T. Shipley as well as on developing new product for both titles.

Not only is Reliable the smallest of the three Flax brands, but it’s also something of an odd man out. While Flax and T. Shipley sell smaller items, many suitable for gift-giving, Reliable specializes in larger, big-ticket items. What’s more, more than half of Reliable’s products are dropped-shipped from the manufacturers.

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