Norm Thompson Outfitters Sold to Golden Gate Capital

The latest cataloger/retailer to be gobbled up by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital: Portland, OR-based Norm Thompson Outfitters. On March 13 the multititle mailer was sold to Catalog Holdings, a portfolio company of San Francisco-based Golden Gate.

The approximately $200 million Norm Thompson Outfitters mails the apparel, footwear, and gifts book Norm Thompson; home and garden title Solutions; and Sahalie (formerly Early Winters), which sells apparel and accessories for the outdoor lifestyle. In 2004 the company circulated 115 million catalogs.

Golden Gate and Catalog Holdings have made several high-profile catalog acquisitions in the past two years. It acquired women’s apparel cataloger Newport News in June 2004, followed by sister mailer Spiegel a month later. In November 2005, Golden Gate purchased three women’s apparel merchants–Draper’s & Damon’s, Appleseed’s, and the Tog Shop–on the same day. Like most of Golden Gate’s other titles, Norm Thompson caters to middle- and upper-middle-income baby boomers. Tog Shop caters to women at the older boomers as well as senior women, while Newport News also attracts Gen X women.

The acquisition comes at a time of uncertainty for Norm Thompson. During the past few years it has relaunched its Websites and closed its full-price stores.

Sales results have been mixed among divisions. “Sahalie is performing close to plan, while Norm Thompson and Solutions continue to work through their transitions,” chief executive John Emrick wrote in a Jan. 6 e-mail, according to a report in the “Portland Business Journal” which also reported that last summer Emrick told workers the company was giving the potential sale of Solutions serious consideration.

Stefan Kaluzny, managing director at Golden Gate Capital, said in a statement, “With the addition of Norm Thompson, Solutions, and Sahalie, we have significantly increased our offerings to this rapidly growing demographic. Furthermore, adding Norm Thompson’s three brands to our five existing titles creates ever greater opportunities for each to benefit from the scale and expertise of the group.”

Terms of the deal were not released.

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