Gander Mountain embraces multichannel strategy

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Outdoor gear and apparel retailer Gander Mountain is making a big push into catalogs and e-commerce this year. Its efforts saw light this week when the 48-year-old brand was featured in a 324-page catalog drop to 2 million homes. Gander Mountain also expects to launch its own branded e-commerce Web site and catalog later this year.
The catalog was a joint effort with Overton's Inc., an Internet and catalog marketing company targeting recreational boaters that Gander acquired for $70 million in December. Gander Mountain said the acquisition would help speed its return to direct marketing by providing the necessary infrastructure, including a fulfillment center and a call center.
Gander Mountain previously had a catalog business that was sold to Cabela's in 1996 for $35 million as an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Eventually, the retail business was acquired by Holiday Companies and, in April 2004, spun off as a publicly held company.
When a revitalized Gander started selling shotgun barrels on its Web site in 2003, the lawsuits began. Cabela's said Gander had violated the 1996 agreement while Gander claimed Cabela's hadn't used the Gander name for any commercial purposes.
Last summer, the US District Court for the District of Minnesota issued an order granting Gander Mountain the right to use certain Gander Mountain trademarks in direct marketing.
Overton's “provides an infrastructure with minimal incremental investment,” said Mark Baker, CEO of Gander Mountain, during the company's Q4 conference call with analysts on April 15. “This is an important step in building a national retail operation that goes to market across all channels and brings new customers the opportunity to do business with Gander Mountain,” he said. The company views direct marketing as an important opportunity to increase sales and profitability.
Gander Mountain's direct marketing strategy will include substantially increasing the distribution of the Overton's catalog and offering Overton's branded products in Gander Mountain catalogs.
The company has also evaluated its advertising budget and reallocated some of the investment to catalogs to support its retail stores.
Gander Mountain currently operates 114 stores in 23 states. For fiscal 2007, the company reported sales totaled $969.4 million, an increase of 6.4%. Comparable store sales declined 5.4%.

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