Blair Corp. sees yearly profit fall 99%
Direct retailer Blair Corp. saw its fourth quarter profit and sales drop significantly, marking the end of a difficult year, according to BusinessWeek
Fourth quarter sales dropped 8.4 percent to $119.2 million. The company attributed the decline to lower selling prices and a 4.1 percent reduction in unit volume.
Blair’s net income fell a whopping 75 percent to $5.9 million. For the year, Blair’s profit fell from $31.5 million to just $216,000.
“2006 was a difficult year with significant changes in the areas of merchandising, circulation, credit and staffing,” Chief Executive Officer Al Lopez said in a statement. “The results for the fourth quarter reflect actions taken earlier in the year to improve operational efficiency.”
Through its catalog and online operations, Warren, Penn.-based Blair sells housewares and a range of apparel for men and women.
has seen its sales drop quarter over quarter this year.
In its third quarter, the company’s revenue dropped 8.7 percent to $89.5 million. Blair’s second quarter saw similar declines, with sales falling 4.8 percent to $115 million.
In January, the company promoted Lopez to the new CEO role, taking over for retiring chief John Zawacki.
In attempts to turn its business around, that same month Blair announced plans to go private via a $173.6 million buyout from Appleseed’s Topco, a portfolio company of private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.
“Appleseed’s shares our vision for Blair,” Lopez said in an earlier statement. “They are supportive of our current strategy and are committed to help us execute it.”
According to The List database, Blair does not have an announced creative agency relationship.
According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the company spent about $1.5 million on media in 2005. The company spent about $1.5 million on national magazine ads and about $1,000 on spot radio placement.
Blair’s continually tumbling sales indicate that consumers may be losing interest in the company’s offerings. Agencies should bring new, fresh angles to the Blair's apparently foundering marketing strategy. Firms that can help the company capitalize on its Web presence should approach executives now. Agencies should convince Blair that an interactive campaign or an update to its Web site will be a fruitful investment to drive traffic. Blair’s product lineup appears to cater to the sensibilities of middle America, so firms should pitch with this consumer group in mind.