February 5, 2002, 12:00 AM

Sharper Image’s Internet revenue counters the industry trend

Bucking a retail trend, The Sharper Image’s Internet revenue, even accounting for the removal of its online auction sales, fell 3% last year. Total company revenue fell 6%.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor


Bucking a retail trend, The Sharper Image reported today that its Internet revenue, even accounting for the removal of its online auction sales, fell 3% last year. The Sharper Image used to run its online auctions for excess or discontinued merchandise at its web site but now handles that at eBay. Total Internet revenue last year was $49.8 million vs. $51.3 million the year before not including auctions and $60.2 million including auctions.

Companywide revenue last year fell 6% to $395.2 million. Most retailers these days are reporting significant increases in web-based revenue, even when their total revenue is flat or down. The Sharper Image has said that the decline in Internet revenue may reflect the fact that The Sharper Image has been selling online for some time and so web revenue reflects more the fortunes of the company rather than the novelty of the channel.

Store sales were down 7% and comparable store sales, 16%. Catalog sales increased 5%.

For the fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 31, total revenue was down 6% while Internet revenue excluding auctions fell 13%. Store sales increased 2% and comparable store sales fell 9%. Catalog sales were down 10%. Counting last year’s auction revenue, Internet sales were down 25%.

January sales increased 16% to $24.7 million. Store sales were up 9% while comparable store sales were up 3%. Catalog sales increased 41% to $8.9 million. Meanwhile, Internet sales continued their decline, falling 10% excluding auctions.

"The sales comparisons, which were difficult throughout 2001 because of the phenomenal Razor scooter sales in 2000, actually masked the strength of our core business,” said Richard Thalheimer, chairman and CEO. “When the extraordinary scooter sales are excluded from the comparisons, annual total company sales increased 13%, total stores sales increased 14%, comparable store sales increased 2%, catalog sales increased 23% and Internet sales, excluding auction sales, increased 16%. This is a great result in an extremely difficult environment.”


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