With one notable exception, retailers with direct marketing operations had strong May year-over-year sales. Snapshot findings reveal an industry bullish on growth, if planned expansions and catalog circulation increases are any indication. Highlights from reported May sales follow:
Federated Department Stores, Inc., Cincinnati, has broken out its direct to consumer sales for less than a year. In May, the company had $142 million in direct to consumer sales, virtually unchanged from April’s figures. Much of these sales came from Federated’s recent acquisition of Fingerhut, as well as its Bloomingdale’s By Mail, Macy’s By Mail, and Macys.com subsidiaries. Sales within its department stores crept up from $1.11 billion in April to nearly $1.12 billion in May.
Garden Botanika, the Redmond, WA firm that is going through bankruptcy reorganization, had a comparable store revenue decrease of 8% in May. The company also had combined mail order and Internet sales of $205,000, and it reported $262,000 from sales of annual memberships in the its discount shopping “Garden Club” program.
The year-over-year growth in Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Company Inc.’s direct marketing services slowed from 13.4% in April to 8.3% in May, with the division accounting for $91 million in sales, as opposed to $84 million in May 1998. But the division still outstripped the increase in same-store sales, which rose 2.2%, from $1.035 billion to $1.05 billion. Penney’s catalog sales, which in April’s sales figures had risen 5.3% from the previous year, were up only 1.6%, moving from $248 million to $252 million.
While Spiegel Inc. did not break out its catalog and Newport News sales, the Downers Grove, IL company showed an 11% increase in May sales, from $201.5 million to $223.8 million. The company said that both division achieved “significant growth”, with Newport News setting a record for monthly sales. The company’s Eddie Bauer and Spiegel Catalog Internet sites tripled their sales levels over those of last May.
Succesories, Aurora, IL, had an 18.9% increase in catalog sales, compared to a comparable store sales increase of 6.1% over May 1998. The company attributed the jump in catalog sales to a planned increase in prospecting catalog circulation.