May Catalog Sales Improve for Most

The skies may have been gray and cloudy, but May catalog sales were sunny for most of the publicly traded cataloger/retailers tracked by CATALOG AGE.

For instance, cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (Nasdaq: JOSB) posted an 16% increase in May catalog and Internet sales. Total May sales for the Hampstead, MD-based marketer of men’s apparel rose 18%, to $21.4 million.

May sales at San Francisco-based Sharper Image increased 28%, to $45.0 million from last year’s $35.2 million. Catalog sales for marketer of high-tech gadgets increased 16%, to $12.4 million from $10.7 million. Internet sales increased 39%, to $6.6 million from $4.8 million. Comparable store sales increased 19%.

Hingham, MA-based apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE:TLB) saw May sales increase 2%, to $115.9 million. Comparable store sales decreased 5%, however.

Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. enjoyed better-than-expected direct sales of $179 million in May, up from $178 million in May 2002, primarily as a result of better print media and Internet sales. The company says Internet sales increased more than 50%, thanks to increased customer response from new and existing customers. Total company sales for the general merchandise cataloger/retailer increased 1%, to $2.29 billion from $2.26 billion last year.

And a 9% sales increase in its direct division gave a boost to apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew. Direct sales were $10.7 million, compared with $7.6 million in May 2002. But catalog sales fell to $5.2 million from $7.0 million last year. In total, New York-based Crew reported May revenue of $57.4 million, up slightly from $56.6 million last year. Comparable store sales decreased 8%, however.

And then there’s Downers Grove, IL-based Spiegel Group, which mails the Eddie Bauer, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs. Catalog and e-commerce sales plunged 41% from the previous May, primarily due to lower customer demand and a planned reduction in catalog circulation. Net sales include $25.5 million in liquidation sales resulting from the sale and transfer of inventory to an independent liquidator in conjunction with the closing of 60 Eddie Bauier retail and outlet stores, 16 Spiegel outlet and clearance stores, and five Newport News outlet stores.

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