February 4, 2009, 12:00 AM

Replacements.com dishes out a 16% web sales increase in 2008

Web sales rose 16% in 2008 to $71.7 million for Replacements.com, a web tableware retailer. Fourth quarter sales rose 2% vs. the prior year.

Web sales rose 16% in 2008 to $71.7 million from $61.8 million in the prior year for web tableware retailer Replacements Ltd. Fourth quarter web orders were up by 11% and web sales for the quarter rose 2% vs. the prior year.

“For the fourth quarter as a whole our web sales for October through December were up 2%, which indicates smaller ticket sizes,” senior vice president of e-commerce Jack Whitley tells Internet Retailer. The biggest surprise for Replacements, No. 166 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, was a 15% increase in December 2008 web sales compared with December of 2007, “which was a real challenge with five fewer Christmas shopping days,” he says.

Whitley attributes 2008’s web sales success in large part to sticking with its existing marketing plan in the face of waning economic conditions. “We didn’t over-correct in terms of slashing spending. Ticket sizes were smaller, but we’re comfortable the external economy was driving that.” Replacements maintained online advertising spending in Q4 2008 and into Q1 2009, and tempered overall ad spending by bidding less on paid search keywords and finding better deals on other online ads, he says.

The first quarter of fiscal 2009 is off to a good start, Whitley says. “Sales were up by double digits for the first half of January, which does not a trend make. But many merchants feel the January through March quarter is going to determine the year,” he says.

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