April 8, 2009, 12:00 AM

Playboy’s 2008 web sales hop into negative territory

It was a tough end of the year for Playboy Enterprises, which sells online at web sites ShoptheBunny.com and PlayboyStore.com. For the full year, web sales declined by 24% and total sales dropped by 14%.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

It was a tough end of the year for Playboy Enterprises Inc., which sells online with a pair of e-commerce sites.

In 2008, web sales for Playboy, No. 387 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, decreased by 24.4% to $48.4 million from $64 million in 2007. Total sales declined year over year by 14% to $292.1 million from $339.8 million. The web accounted for 17% of Playboy’s total revenue vs. 19% in 2007. Playboy, which sells online at ShoptheBunny.com and PlayboyStore.com, posted a net loss of $156 million in 2008 compared with net income of $4.9 million in 2007.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, online sales declined by 40.9% to $10.7 million from $18.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Total Q4 sales also decreased year over year by 18.7% to $69.8 million from $85.9 million. The Internet and e-commerce represented 12% of all revenue in the fourth quarter while Playboy’s net loss expanded to $145.7 million from a net loss of $1.1 million in Q4 of 2007. The net loss for the fourth quarter and the full year relate to ongoing restructuring costs and the sale of Playboy’s internal television studio.

“Our financial performance is not reflective of its potential and over the past several months the company has accelerated the pace of expense reductions designed to bring our cost structure in line with current market realities and the positioning of our businesses going forward,” says interim Playboy CEO Jerome Kern. The results of our efforts to date should be meaningful, but in the face of current economic conditions, it is clear that our streamlining initiatives need to continue.

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