January 5, 2006, 12:00 AM

Sharper Image web sales grow 10% in December while total sales slip 9%

Internet sales at Sharper Image in December reached $27.2 million, a 10% increase over last December`s $24.8 million. Web sales were the bright spot in a month that experienced declines in all other channels. J.C. Penney’s web sales were up 26%.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Internet sales at Sharper Image Corp. in December reached $27.2 million, a 10% increase over last December`s $24.8 million, the company reported today. Web sales were the bright spot in a month that experienced declines in all other channels. Total sales were down 9% to $150.2 million from $164.3 million; store sales were down 9% to $106.1 million from $116.5 million in December 2004 and comparable store sales were off 15%. Combined catalog/direct marketing sales, including wholesale, were down 26% to $16.9 million from $23 million a year earlier.

Web sales in December accounted for 18.1% of all sales compared to 15% a year earlier.

For the 11 months ended Dec. 31, Internet sales were $98.1 million, down 8% from the previous year`s $106.6 million. Total sales were down 12% to $609.4 million from $691.3 million. Store sales were off 6% to $383.4 million from $407.3 million, while comparable store sales decreased 16%. Catalog/direct marketing sales, including wholesale, were down 28% to $127.9 million from $177.4 million.

"The total company sales decline in December, although disappointing, was generally confined to two major product categories, air purifiers and massage chairs, which continue year-over-year declines in sales and profit contribution," said Richard Thalheimer, founder, chairman and chief executive officer. "We expect sales in these two highly competitive areas to continue year-over-year decreases into 2006. Despite the sales decreases, the company remains financially strong and ended December with no debt and in a positive cash position. Additionally, our December month-end inventories were below prior December levels."

At J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s jcpenney.com, sales increased 26% in December and nearly 30% in the first 11 months of its year. Department store sales were up 3.1% in December while comparable store sales were up 2.2%.

 

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