Catalogers Report Strong Holiday Sales

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Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, this week reported a sales increase of 13 percent for December, while jeweler and specialty retailer Tiffany & Co., New York, said its sales increased 20 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.


Tiffany's direct marketing sales rose 7 percent in both corporate and catalog divisions, but Sharper Image sales for mail-order were up almost three times that amount, to 20 percent. Williams-Sonoma Inc., San Francisco, said its catalog sales for the eight weeks ended Dec. 27 climbed 17.5 percent over the same period a year ago, with comparable-store sales rising a more modest 6.7 percent.


The rates of growth also outpaced the increases the specialty retailer of kitchenware and other home products saw in 1997, when catalog sales advanced 15.6 percent and same-store sales rose 4.1 percent.


Meanwhile, apparel and home furnishings marketer Spiegel Inc., Downers Grove, IL, said total sales rose 3 percent during the five weeks ended Jan. 2, to $453.2 million. The company reported that both catalog and retail sales improved in the latter half of December as the weather turned colder. Though sales over the Internet garnered only a small portion of total revenue, Spiegel said online sales tripled during the holiday season over the same period in 1997.
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