February 20, 2013, 10:16 AM

Direct sales drop for Cabela’s in 2012

Direct sales, which the retailer says are mostly online, decline 2.7%.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Lead Photo

Total revenue was up for outdoor, hunting and fishing gear retailer Cabela’s Inc. in 2012, but the growth didn’t come from the company’s direct channel.

For the year ended Dec. 29, Cabela’s, No. 43 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500 reported:

  • Direct sales, the “vast preponderance of which are online,” according to  Cabela’s chief financial officer Ralph Castner,  declined year over year 2.7% to $930.9 million from $956.8 million.
  • Total sales increased 10.7% to $3.11 billion in 2012 from $2.81 billion in 2011.
  • Retail sales increased 18.7% to $1.84 billion from $1.55 billion in 2011.
  • The company didn’t break out comparable-store sales.
  • Net income grew 28.3% to $193.5 million from $150.8 million in 2011.
  • Operating income of the retail segment increased 36.4% year over year to $345.0 million from $253.0 million.
  • Operating income for the direct segment decreased 9.8% year over year to $155.2 million from $172.1 million.

Direct sales accounted for 29.9% of total sales compared with 34.0% in 2011. Cabela’s doesn’t break out web sales, but on the year-end earnings call with Wall Street analysts Castner conveyed that most of the company’s direct sales, which includes catalog and online, were generated by its e-commerce channel. “If you're defining an Internet sale as how the order came through, it is such a huge piece now of the direct business, it's hardly worth distinguishing the two,” Castner told analysts.

For the fourth quarter Cabela’s reported:

  • Direct sales increased year over year 1.7% to $385.5 million from $378.9 million.
  • Total sales increased 13.9% to $1.12 billion in 2012 from $983.7 million in Q4 2011.
  • Retail sales increased 26.3% to $663.6 billion from $525.6 million in Q4 2011.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 12%.
  • Net income grew 19.7% to $89.8 million from $75.0 million in 2011.
  • Operating income of the retail segment increased 32.9% year over year to $144.1 million from $108.4 million.
  • Operating income for the direct segment decreased 9.3% year over year to $61.7 million from $68.0 million.

Direct sales accounted for 34.4% of total sales compared with 38.5% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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