With the notable exception of San Francisco-based Sharper Image–which increased catalog sales a whopping 42% for the month of June–catalog sales had a hard time keeping up with retail revenue, at least according to the publicly traded marketers tracked by Catalog Age.
Total company sales at San Francisco-based Sharper Image increased 23% to $50.8 million for the month ended June 30, compared with $41.2 million for June 2003. Total catalog/direct marketing sales increased 42% to $13.3 million from last June’s $9.3 million. Internet sales increased 17% to $7.0 million from last June’s $6.0 million. Total store sales increased 18% to $30.6 million from last June’s $25.9 million.
But catalog sales were not as brisk as retail at other companies, such as Dallas-based Neiman Marcus. Comparable revenue at Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow, Neiman Marcus and Chef’s Catalog titles, increased 9%, but below the overall revenue gain at Neiman Marcus, which grew 13% to $326 million, compared with $289 million last year. Comparable revenue in the Specialty Retail Stores segment, which includes Neiman Marcus Stores and Bergdorf Goodman, increased 14%.
The direct unit of the Hampstead, MD-based cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank also lagged behind the retail segment. Combined catalog/Internet sales increased just 5%, while overall company sales rose 27% to $32.3 million for the month ended July 3, compared with $25.5 million last year. Comparable store sales increased 10.6% when compared with last year.
Then there’s the catalog/Internet division of general merchandise giant Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney, for which sales fell 3% to $198 million for the month ended July 3, compared with $205 million last year. Total sales increased 4%, to $1.5 billion, compared with $1.4 billion last year.
And that brings us to another general merchant Downers Grove, IL-based The Spiegel Group, which is in the process of selling off operations. Bankrupt Spiegel Corp. completed the sale of apparel catalog Newport News on June 21 to a group led by management. It has yet to finalize the sales of its Spiegel catalog unit, which was purchased by Pangea Holdings at an auction.
Spiegel reported net sales of $124.1 million for the period ended July 3, a 23% decrease compared to net sales of $160.2 million last year. Net sales reported for June 2004 include the Newport News business through June 21, 2004. Excluding the Newport News business, the Spiegel Group’s net sales decreased 18% for the month.
The group’s direct net sales decreased 31% for the month compared to the same period last year, primarily due to the sale of the Newport News business, lower customer response, and a planned reduction in catalog circulation. The company also reported that comparable-store sales for its Eddie Bauer division decreased 11% for the five-week period ended July 3 compared with last year.
Net sales from retail and outlet stores fell 14% for the month compared to the same period last year, reflecting a decline in comparable- store sales and fewer stores compared to last year.