July 24, 2001, 12:00 AM

Spiegel’s web sales are—again—the only growth in a weak quarter

Web sales at the Spiegel Group, which owns Spiegel, Eddie Bauer and Newport News brands, grew 61% in the second quarter, while companywide sales fell 5%.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Sales at Downers Grove, Ill.-based The Spiegel Group are stuck in the same groove they’ve been in for several quarters: Web sales are up significantly, but not enough to offset declines in the stores and catalogs.

Web sales at Spiegel, which operates the Spiegel, Eddie Bauer and Newport News brands, grew 61% in the second quarter, while companywide sales fell 5%. Same-store sales at Eddie Bauer stores dropped 9% in the quarter. Catalog sales dropped by 15%. Revenue for the company’s finance division, which operates its credit card program, fell 4% in the quarter. The company earned $5 million, down from $25.8 million in the second quarter a year ago.

“We anticipate substantial year-over-year earnings improvement in the fall season as we compare against last year`s weaker sales period, particularly at Eddie Bauer. Inventory levels are well positioned and we have taken a cautious approach to ownership of fall inventory," said James R. Cannataro, executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Spiegel Group.

Operating income declined by $29.9 million for the quarter, including a $39.6 million decrease in the merchandising segment and a $9.4 million improvement in the bankcard segment.

Total revenue for the quarter was $831.9 million.

For the first six months, total revenue decreased 4 percent to $1.581 billion from $1.64 billion for the comparable period last year. The company reported a loss of $7.2 million, for the six months ended June 30 compared with earnings of $46.1 million, before the cumulative effect of an accounting change, for the comparable period last year.

 

 

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