February 1, 2006, 12:00 AM

NFLShop.com scores a 10% gain in 2005 web sales

Following a strong 2005, the NFL’s direct marketing arm is kicking off 2006 with plans to circulate 13 million catalogs and take a more assertive approach to online sales, says manager of NFL Direct Brian Fitzgerald.

Crediting a shift to online sales, an increase in catalogs and other factors, NFLShop.com executives report 2005 sales of $58 million, a 10% gain over $52.7 million in 2004.

A little bit of everything drove growth last year, says Brian Fitzgerald, manager of NFL Direct. “The demand for NFL licensed products was up,” he says. “And we’re seeing less NFL merchandise in bricks-and-mortar stores while we have increased product availability and assortment online, including 20,000 SKUs.”

Fitzgerald also cites greater emphasis on catalog activities as an online growth factor. “Our multi-channel campaign has helped,” he adds. “Last year we circulated 12 million catalogs. Since then we have seen increases in online traffic.”

NFLShop.com is No. 186 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites. It has a conversion rate of 3.2% and an average ticket of $86, Fitzgerald says.

This year, the NFL plans to circulate 13 million catalogs and take a more assertive approach to online sales, Fitzgerald says. “We’re looking at new creative options, including different kinds of Flash capabilities,” he says. “We’ll be much more aggressive in our search and affiliate marketing. And we will be creating enhanced online versions of the ton of league and team catalogs put out by the NFL.”

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