Direct Retailing Outpaces Other Channels

Carole Sloan, July 25, 2005

New York — Direct-to-consumer retailing surged to the highest sales increase in home textiles by channel with a 14.7 percent gain for 2004.

The increase was spurred largely by the increases in Internet sales at JCPenney, where catalog sales also increased. Overall, Penney recorded a gain of 25.3 percent for its non-store business, bringing its 2004 sales in this channel to $1.2 billion.

Close on Penney's heels was Pottery Barn — in third place for this segment — with a 20 percent increase, bringing its sales in this business to $216 million.

The specialty store segment recorded the second largest increase with a gain of 10.5 percent, followed by discount stores/supercenters with a 6 percent increase. Department stores with a collective increase of 1.8 percent edged out “other” which includes Sears, Lowe's and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

Overall, discount stores/supercenters retained their dominant share of the home textiles market with 43 percent, the same level as in 2003. Specialty stores edged up to a 24 percent share from 23 percent, department stores slipped to 19 percent from 2003's level of 20 percent. Direct-to-consumer picked up a percentage point to 10 percent, while the “other” category dropped a percentage point to 3 percent. Warehouse clubs held at 1 percent of the market.

Within the segments, the only change in ranking of the Top 5 was in the department store category where Macy's East and Macy's West swapped places for numbers four and five with Macy's West moving up a notch.

Despite a year of challenges in home textiles, Kohl's lead the percentage increase in the department store ranks with an 11 percent gain, largely as a result of the addition of 95 new stores in 2004.

While Bed Bath & Beyond held its lead in the specialty store retailing segment of home textiles, Pottery Barn in fifth position gained the largest percentage, up 15.8 percent, bringing its retail sales to $234 million.

With 115 new stores, Wal-Mart recorded the largest gain in the discount store/supercenter segment of the Top 5 with an increase of 10.2 percent.

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