Need a putting green for the office? How about an alarm clock that responds to your spoken commands? Then Brookstone is the place for you. It sells gifts, gadgets, and other doodads targeted primarily at men through about 295 stores in 40-plus states and Puerto Rico. The company's products fall into categories such as technology, travel, time and weather, outdoor living, fitness, and automotive. Brookstone also sells its wares online and through its eponymous catalog. Because gifts contribute to most of its sales, the company operates temporary kiosks during Father's day and busy holiday seasons. Brookstone is owned by a consortium led by Osim International, J.W. Childs, and Temasek Holdings.
Sales at Brookstone's 290 retail stores account for 75% of its total sales. Online and catalog sales bring in about 20%. Brookstone merchandise is also sold by resellers and corporate partners, which accounts for the rest.
Brookstone's sales increased 6% in 2011 vs. 2010, and the retailer narrowed its net loss over the same period. While sales at its retail stores were essentially flat (up less than 1%), e-commerce sales grew by nearly 20%, while sales by resellers and other partners increased 176%. Same-store sales at Brookstone stores were up 2.5% (a healthy sign), but the gain was offset by the closure of about a dozen stores. Online sales got a boost from the firm's "marketplace initiative," which increased the selection of third-party products available for sale on the company's website. The significant increase in the Alternative Distribution segment net sales was primarily the result of an increase in the number of wholesale partners (i.e. other retailers) that purchased our products for sale in their retail stores and channels, as well as increased inventory purchases from our existing and legacy wholesale partners.
While Brookstone's sales are growing again after a rought patch during the deep recession, the $497 million it rang up in 2011 is well below its 2007 peak of nearly $563 million in sales. Charged with leading Brookstone's recovery is president and CEO Stephen Bebis, who joined the company from Golf Town in May 2012.
Founded in 1965 as a catalog retailer, Brookstone pursues a multi-channel strategy today. The retailer aims to reverse its falling store count by opening 10 to 15 new stores annually. Most of its stores are found in high-traffic regional malls, although airports are a big focus for the retailer as its travel and technology products, including headphones, mobile devices, and digital media, are popular with travelers. The company complements its year-round retail operation with temporary stores and kiosks. However, the firm is attempting to become less seasonal by achieving profitability in the first three quarters of each fiscal year, as opposed to just the fourth.
To further grow its top line, Brookstone is expanding its selection of proprietary products and introducing more new and improved items from other makers on a regular basis. (The company replaces 40% of its merchandise every year.) It is expanding its wholesale and corporate sales channels, too. – less