Doran Robinson previously worked for healthcare information technology vendor athenahealth.
While total sales are up year to date, a new auction strategy impacts web performance.
Multi-channel retailer Sharper Image Corp. this week reported an 11% decrease to $3.3 million from $3.7 million in June web sales from last year, although year to date sales for the first five months of the company’s fiscal year rose 7% to $16.8 million from $15.7 million in the year-ago period. The decrease is the result of a change in how Sharper Image is handling web-based auctions of discontinued merchandise, the company says.
Sharper Image reported that total sales from June deceased 1% to $27.7 million from last June’s $27.9 million. June store sales decreased 10% to $17.3 million from $19.3 million last year, while June catalog sales increased 45% to $7.1 million from last year’s $4.9 million. For the first five months of its fiscal year, total company sales rose 11% to $124.5 million from last year’s $112.4 million, including total store sales which increased 1% to $73.3 million from $73.4 million and catalog sales that rose 46% to $33.9 million from last year`s $23.2 million.
Affecting the drop in Internet sales for June is a recent change in strategy for the company’s 2-year-old auction area, which the company reports as part of overall web sales. Sharper Image had sold items on the auction site at less than cost to liquidate products it no longer carried, including unsold goods from a discontinued home catalog, says a spokeswoman. However, the company has ceased that practice to go after higher margins on auction sales. As a result, the volume of goods moving at auction has dropped, she says, pulling down the results for the whole web channel. Separated from the auction sales, Sharper Image’s regular web sales show a double-digit increase year to date over the same category last year, says the spokeswoman, though she did not supply a specific figure.