The Tog Shop, A.B. Lambdin up for sale

The heirs of Tog Shop founder Emory Rylander, have put the family business — which includes swimsuit cataloger A.B. Lambdin as well as the eponymous cataloger/ retailer — up for sale. And according to Tog Shop president Carl Tott, a prospective buyer is already working on an agreement to acquire the Tog Shop catalog, though as of early May no deal had been reached.

The $50 million company includes the Tog Shop catalog and Website and five small stores in Georgia that are used primarily for overstocks, and the A.B. Lambdin catalog and Website. Tog Shop acquired A.B. Lambdin, which has estimated sales of $15 million, in fall 1982; its first catalog mailed in spring 1983.

According to Tott, the Rylander family wants to cash out of the business and is no longer willing to invest in the growth of the company. For instance, though the marketer is currently mailing to “millions of prospects,” it has slashed its prospecting in half during the last five years, he says.

Tott says that further investment is needed for developing a direct import program, as well as for funding marketing on the Internet. Currently just 8% of the company’s sales are derived from the Website.

The business’s assets include the 185,000 sq.-ft. distribution center and call center in Americus, GA. The facility, which includes 25,000 sq. ft. of bulk storage, sits on 23 acres, and employs 115 full-time staff, would make an ideal platform for a company that wants to get into direct marketing, Tott says.

Indeed, a Tog Shop acquisition might be “an opportunity for a fall/holiday marketer who needs immediate call center, warehouse, and distribution center operations,” says catalog intermediary Larry West of New York-based West Cos. West and Jim Adams of Peterborough, NH-based financial consultancy James C. Adams are advising Tog Shop shareholders in the deal.

According to list services provider NextMark, the Tog Shop catalog has 195,342 12-month buyers,and an average order value of $95. A.B. Lambdin has 66,639 12-month buyers; the catalog’s average order is $130.

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