The Spiegel Group reported sales of $149.6 million for the four weeks ended August 24, 2002, a 21 percent decrease compared to sales of $188.7 million for the same four-week period last year.
For the 34 weeks ended August 24, 2002, sales declined 17 percent to $1.359 billion from $1.635 billion in the same period last year.
The company also reported that comparable-store sales for its Eddie Bauer division decreased 18 percent for the four-week period and 14 percent for the 34-week period ended August 24, 2002. Eddie Bauer retail sales for August reflect the impact of significantly lower clearance activity due to better inventory control as well as lower customer traffic compared to last year.
The company stated that Eddie Bauer is implementing a new brand strategy that emphasizes its outdoor heritage while interpreting it in a compelling, consumer-relevant way. To support its brand positioning, the company recently launched a vertically integrated messaging campaign designed to engage consumers on an emotional basis, targeting Eddie Bauer's core customers while reaching out to a broader audience. These changes will become evident in its stores, catalogs and on the Internet beginning this week.
The Group's sales results by division for August reflect a decline of 13 percent at Eddie Bauer, 26 percent at Newport News, and 33 percent at Spiegel Catalog. Sales results for Spiegel Catalog and Newport News continue to reflect the effects of more restrictive credit-granting measures taken in the company's private-label credit card business, which is aligned with their strategies to attract and retain higher-quality credit customers. In addition, sales were impacted by a reduction in catalog circulation.
Sales from the Group's e-commerce channel were even for the month. Total direct sales declined 25 percent and the Group's retail store sales decreased 16 percent.
The company also noted that it continues to tightly manage its inventory levels. Inventories were down 16 percent at the end of August compared to last year.
The Spiegel Group is a leading international specialty retailer marketing fashionable apparel and home furnishings to customers through catalogs, about 570 specialty retail and outlet stores, and e-commerce sites, including eddiebauer.com, newport-news.com and spiegel.com. The Spiegel Group's businesses include Eddie Bauer, Newport News, Spiegel Catalog and First Consumers National Bank. The company's Class A Non-Voting Common Stock trades on the over-the-counter market ("Pink Sheets") under the ticker symbol: SPGLA. Investor relations information is available on The Spiegel Group Web site at http://www.thespiegelgroup.com.
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