February 22, 2002, 12:00 AM

Web sales shine in a dismal year for Spiegel

Web-based sales for the Spiegel Group shot up 46% last year from the year before to $331.8 million while total sales fell 9%. Web sales now account for 12% of Spiegel’s sales, up from 7.4% a year earlier.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

The year-end web numbers at The Spiegel Group were no surprise to anyone who’s tracked the company’s performance throughout the year: Web sales were up significantly while the rest of the company’s sales continue to sink.

Web-based sales for the Spiegel Group shot up 46% last year from the year before to $331.8 million from $227.4 million, Spiegel reported. Total sales at the Downers Grove, IL-based multi-channel retailer fell 9% to $2.78 billion from $3.06 billion the year before. Store sales were down 8%. Web sales now account for 12% of Spiegel’s sales, up from 7.4% a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter, web sales grew 22% to $116.1 million from $95.3 million the year earlier. Total sales fell 15% in Q4 to $920.9 million from $1.07 billion the year before. Store sales were down 14%. In Q4, the web accounted for 12.6% of sales up from 8.8% a year earlier.

All of the company’s divisions suffered declines in 2001, with Eddie Bauer sales falling 9%, Newport News, 6%, and Spiegel, 12%. Total sales companywide fell 9%.

Spiegel also announced it will sell its credit card operation--First Consumers National Bank. It says it will offer credit to customers through a third-party credit provider.

For the year ended December 29, 2001, the company reported a loss from continuing operations of $17.8 million, compared to earnings from continuing operations before the cumulative effect of an accounting change of $8.9 million for the year earlier.

 

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