April 1, 2009, 12:00 AM

Gaiam loses green in year-end and fourth quarter results

With rising web sales a bright spot in the year’s $35.6 million net loss, Gaiam will boost online customer acquisition efforts. Web sales rose as a percentage of total revenue, to 13.9% in 2008 from 9.8% in 2007.

Though web sales were up for the year, lifestyle product and media company Gaiam Inc. reported losses for the year and fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, citing overall market conditions and a decrease in consumer spending. For the year, Gaiam posted a net loss of $35.6 million, compared to net income of $8.5 million for the previous fiscal year.

Web sales were $35.8 million for its fiscal and calendar year, up 39.4% from the $25.8 million in web sales it reported for 2007. That compared with a decline of 2.2% in total sales for the year, from $262.9 million to $257.2 million. Web sales rose as a percentage of total revenue, to 13.9% in 2008 from 9.8% in 2007.

For the fourth quarter, Gaiam reported that total net revenue at $74.5 million declined from $81.8 million a year earlier. The company recorded a net loss of $30.3 million for the quarter, compared to net income of $f 4.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The company said non-cash charges relating to goodwill impairment of $27.2 million at Real Goods Solar, a residential provider of solar energy-generating systems in which it has 56% stake, as well as goodwill impairment of $15.1 million for its direct business were primary reasons for the reported loss.

“While our fourth quarter results reflect the broader market trends, we remain committed to our growth strategies and expect to deliver measurable financial returns for 2009 even if the economic climate does not improve,” says Lynn Powers, president. Toward that end, the company is increasing its online customer acquisition efforts, renegotiating freight contracts and product costs with its suppliers, and pursuing other cost-cutting measures, she says.

Gaiam is No. 278 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.

Jason Marshall, vice president of Gaiam Direct, is speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 15-18 in Boston, in a session entitled Backing retail expertise with technological know-how: The winning combination.

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