Venator Group’s direct aim

In a move to significantly expand its catalog and e-commerce interests, athletic footwear and apparel marketer Venator Group, which includes the sports apparel Eastbay catalog and gifts cataloger/retailer San Francisco Music Box, has formed an Internet commerce and direct marketing subsidiary named eVenator.

The new division will be run by co-CEOs Jeffrey Branman, New York-based Venator’s senior vice president of corporate development, and Harry Colcord, CEO of Wassau, MI-based Eastbay. Along with Eastbay, the Websites for Venator’s Foot Locker and Champs Sports retail chains will fall under the eVenator umbrella-as will its new National Football League catalog and Websites.

Earlier this year, the ñ6 billion Venator agreed to become the NFL’s official catalog and e-commerce retailer. The NFL’s previous catalog and Website had been produced under an agreement with Sports Illustrated magazine, Colcord says, but in March, eVenator began designing, merchandising, and fulfilling products for the book, now called NFL Shop, and the Website, www.NFL.com.

Whereas NFL catalogs previously covered some 16 teams, eVenator plans to produce 31 editions-one for each football team, Colcord says. The NFL catalogs are scheduled to start dropping in August to coincide with the kickoff of the football season. At the same time, eVenator will unveil a new NFL e-commerce site, providing customers access to Venator’s inventory of more than 25,000 SKUs.

Venator, which also produces print catalogs for Champs and Nike, has been testing books for Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker for nearly a year, Colcord says, and has done a “limited” test of a Kids Foot Locker title.

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