June 1, 2006, 12:00 AM

Financials not so sharp at Sharper Image

E-commerce sales at retail chain The Sharper Image dropped significantly last month and during the first four months of its current fiscal year. Web sales rose at J.C. Penney and Avenue.com.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

E-commerce sales at retail chain The Sharper Image dropped significantly last month and during the first four months of its current fiscal year, even as web sales continued to rise as a percentage of total sales.

Web sales in May topped off at $5 million, a 19% decrease from last May’s $6.2 million. Total company sales dropped 27% to $33.4 million compared with $45.6 million the previous May. The web accounted for 14.9% of total sales in May 2006, up from 13.6% a year ago.

For the four months ended May 31, web sales fell even further. The company’s e-commerce site racked up $22.2 million, down 24% from $29.4 million during the same period last year. Total company sales dropped 26% to $137.4 million compared with $186.8 million during the four months ended May 31, 2005. The web accounted for 16.2% of total sales for the first four months of the current fiscal year, up from 15.7% in the year-ago period.

“Sales for the month of May reflect a continuation of our recent sales trends,” says Richard Thalheimer, founder, chairman and CEO. “Our principal strategy for addressing this is to accelerate the flow of new products. Our customers will see a significant increase in new product offerings from now through the holiday season. We expect this to improve operating trends in the second half of the 2006 fiscal year.”

The Sharper Image is No. 87 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.

At J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s JCP.com, May sales rose 25% as total sales went up 9.8%. and comp store sales rose 11.1%, the company said today. J.C. Penney is No. 13 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.

At United Retail Group’s Avenue.com, No. 315 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, sales rose 50% year-over-year, as total sales grew 7.5% and comp store sales increased 9%, the retailer said today.

“We believe that our Shop @ Home activities continue to have room to grow and we are committed to increasing Internet sales," said chairman, president and CEO Ralph Benaroya. The Shop @ Home division is comprised of the Avenue.com retail web site.

 

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