Spiegel Sales Continue to Decline

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Troubled Spiegel Inc., owner of Eddie Bauer and Newport News, yesterday announced that sales dropped 19 percent to $160.2 million for the five weeks ended June 29 compared with the year-ago period's $196.6 million.


Even worse, sales for the 26 weeks ended June 28 plummeted 22 percent to $840.2 million from $1.07 billion in the same year-ago timeframe.


The Downers Grove, IL, retailer's net sales from retail and outlet stores fell 18 percent in the 26 weeks ending June 28 versus a year ago. Equally dismal was the 19 percent drop in catalog and e-commerce sales across the group.


Spiegel attributed the poor direct sales to lower customer demand and a planned reduction in catalog circulation at Spiegel catalog and Newport News.


Direct sales drops at Spiegel Catalog and Newport News were offset by higher direct net sales at Eddie Bauer. This was because of the shift in the mailing of Eddie Bauer's Ultimate Summer Sale catalog to June of this year from July of last year and an increase in online promotions.


The company also said that direct sales, and to a lesser degree, store sales, will be negatively impacted by its decision in March to stop honoring the private-label credit cards issued by First Consumer National Bank to customers of Eddie Bauer, Newport News and Spiegel Catalog. A new credit card program was launched in May with another provider.


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