NEMOA at 60: ‘Small’ Event Yields Big Ideas
This month’s NEMOA conference in Portland, Maine, Sept. 19-21, marks the 60th anniversary for what started — and remains — a small specialized trade group. For many long-time members, NEMOA is all about conferences. The group holds semiannual conferences each March and September designed for catalog/multichannel marketers.
“The main value of NEMOA is being able to get together and network,” says 20-year member Dan Walter, president and founder of Eagle America, a woodworking tools and accessories catalog. “You learn tricks of the trade from the people you meet, whether it be from a high-powered speaker such as Don Libey or simply turning to the guy next to you and getting something you didn’t know.”
Like other members, Walter works diligently during NEMOA conferences. “Every time I leave a NEMOA, I have a stack of notes, bullet points and things to do. I’ve come away with 10 to 50 ideas from the conference. You have a plan of action that you leave with, such as last spring’s [emphasis on] how to deal with the postal increase. I’ve put ideas from last year’s conference into effect in this year’s book.”
NEMOA began with a small group of representatives from New England area catalogs, including Appleseed’s, Brecks of Boston, Brookstone and Deerskin Trading Post, who met to exchange ideas. The group has grown to include more than 270 corporate members. Although more catalogers and vendors from outside the New England area have joined in recent years, making NEMOA a national organization, the focus remains on idea exchange among catalogers and multichannel merchants. But the group hopes to continue expanding its boundaries, having formally dropped its original moniker, New England Mail Order Association, in favor of the acronym.
Although NEMOA traditionally has attr-acted a host of smaller catalogers, it continues to draw larger ones, such as L.L. Bean. “There’s always an opportunity when like-minded individuals get together in the same room to share ideas,” says L.L. Bean’s Creative Director and Managing Editor Jim Hauptman. “You learn from the individual sessions, and they’re a stimuli for conversations. You take something from the individual session and then after, you go out in the hallway and ask someone, ‘What did you think of this point?’”
— Joe Keenan
Coldwater Creek: The women’s apparel, jewelry, gifts and accessories multichannel merchant has launched “Onecreek,” a new loyalty program designed to further enhance service and reward its most valuable customers. The program offers discounts and other special promotions. Customers will be automatically enrolled in the program upon meeting eligibility requirements.
Gander Mountain: The outdoor sporting goods retailer won a longstanding dispute in U.S. District Court with multichannel rival Cabela’s for the right to use certain Gander Mountain trademarks in direct marketing. The nation’s largest retail network of stores for hunting, fishing, boating, camping, marine and outdoor lifestyle products and services, plans to relaunch its catalog division.
People On The Move
JoS. A. Bank: The menswear marketer has promoted Gary Merry to EVP. Merry was most recently SVP for operations. He will be responsible for heading the company’s store and catalog operations.
Alloy: The teen apparel marketer has promoted Joseph Frehe to CFO. Frehe joined Alloy in 2000 and most recently served as SVP of finance.
Limited Brands: Len Schlesinger, vice chairman/COO of Limited Brands, recently resigned. Schlesinger had been with the company since 1999. His responsibilities will be assumed by Chairman/CEO Les Wexner and Chief Administrative Officer Martyn Redgrave.
Sheplers: The Western wear apparel cataloger/retailer has been acquired by private equity firm Gryphon Investors for an undisclosed amount. With the news came the announcement that CEO Mike Anop would retire and hand over the CEO reigns to Mark Syrstad. Syrstad most recently served as president and CEO of Crafts Retail Holdings.
Hickory Farms: The multichannel specialty retailer of branded and gift food products has been acquired by an affiliate of private equity firm Sun Capital Partners. Hickory Farms sells beef, pork and cheese products, chocolates, desserts, fresh fruits and nuts, seafood, and other delectables through mail order and online catalogs, grocery stores and mass merchants.
Vertis Communications: The provider of print advertising, direct marketing solutions and related value-added services has signed an agreement to merge with American Color Graphics, a printing and premedia company, into Vertis’ nationwide marketing and printing services platform. The two privately held companies have complimentary service offerings and clients, promoting the combined organization’s experience in advertising inserts and premedia services.
Cabela’s: This catalog/retail outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear reported that total revenue increased 16.5 percent to $451.2 million its second fiscal quarter, compared to $387.3 million for the second fiscal quarter of 2006. Net income for the quarter increased to $11.3 million, compared to $8.4 million for last year’s second fiscal quarter. Direct revenue increased 4.5 percent to $203.9 million.
OfficeMax: The office supplies multichannel marketer reported that second-quarter fiscal sales grew 5 percent to $2.13 billion, up from $2.04 billion during the same period last year. Contract segment sales increased 4.4 percent to $1.2 billion, while retail segment sales grew 4.6 percent to $935.3 million.
PC Connection: The computer products and services cataloger released its financial results for the quarter ended June 30. Net sales increased by 8.1 percent to $441.1 million, compared to $408.1 million last year. Net income for the quarter rose to $5.8 million compared to last year’s $3.1 million quarter, an 85 percent increase. For the fiscal year, net sales are up 6.4 percent to $839.3 million from $788.6 million for the six months ended last year. Net income for the six months ended June 30, 2007 was $9.1 million, compared to $4.8 million for the same time period last year.
Celebrate Express: This cataloger/online retailer of family party products reported for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended May 31 that net sales fell to $20.1 million in the fourth quarter, a 17 percent decrease from net sales of $24.2 million during the same period last year. Net sales decreased 2 percent for the fiscal year to $82.5 million from $87.0 million in the prior fiscal year.
Office Depot: The multichannel marketer of office products posted earnings for the recently completed second quarter of $109 million, compared to $118 million during the same period last year. But total sales grew 4 percent to $3.6 billion. The slowdown was most felt in furniture and office supplies sales, with a lesser impact on technology sales.
Brookstone: The gadgets marketer asaid that for the second quarter ended June 30, total net sales were $99.9 million, a 9.4 percent increase from the comparable 13-week period of 2006. Total net sales also were up for the fiscal year at $183.1 million, an 8.9 percent increase from the comparable time period last year.
CDW: The B-to-B computer supplies marketer posted second quarter total sales up 24.4 percent compared to the second quarter of last year, jumping to $2.03 billion compared to $1.63 billion in 2006. Products that yielded the best year-over-year volume growth for the second quarter were notebook computers, desktop computers, data storage, software and video.
The Sharper Image: The losses continued to mount for the tech gadgets marketer as total company sales for the month of June tumbled 21 percent from June of last year ($28.9 million vs. $36.4 million). Total catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) decreased 50 percent, from $3.8 million compared to last June’s $7.6 million.
For the five months ended June 30, total company sales were down 32 percent from the previous year ($118.7 million vs. 174.5 million) and total catalog/direct marketing sales for the five-month period were down 61 percent ($18.5 million vs. $47.1 million).