Hanover Direct's Brand New Focus
Now that Gump's retail and catalog are housed together, operations for that book have been moved back to the store location in San Francisco. There, the retail channel has begun to test a variety of merchandise focuses by implementing in-store boutiques. For instance, Baby Gump's launched last fall with its own in-store shop.
Another market that may hold potential is men's apparel, where Hanover has two catalog properties: International Male and Undergear. "With International Male, we're looking to reach out to a broader audience," says DiFrancesco. Though that catalog was on the block a few years back, Hanover says it is not actively looking to sell it now. "We continue to improve that business," DiFrancesco adds.
Down the road, success with The Company Store Group could lead Hanover to opportunities that are even more far reaching, including acquisitions. "We'll look for acquisitions when the time is right and it's an appropriate fit," says Nachemin.
Schmid says a logical fit would be the kitchen segment of the home market. "Hanover at one point had a kitchen thrust—Colonial Kitchen and Kitchen & Home [closed in 2001]. It let that get away," says Schmid.
Shull says that at some point, "Hanover may consider the kitchen category again—but really far down the road."
For right now, however, Hanover is focused on making The Company Store Group work, and not on buying and selling catalog titles, DiFrancesco asserts.
"This has progressed a lot faster than any of us predicted," he says. "We're just putting on our track shoes and running to keep up."
Alicia Orr Suman is contributing editor of Target Marketing and Catalog Success magazines. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.