Eddie Bauer, Inc. is a catalogue, shopfront, and ecommerce retailer through two concepts: Eddie Bauer Sportswear, which offers outside attire, sportswear, and accessories; and Eddie Bauer Home, which features bedding, home furnishings, and decor. The organization mails out 110 million catalogues annually, with about 1 / 4 of sales coming from catalogue and website orders. To the side, there are 38 Eddie Bauer Home units within america and 430 Eddie Bauer sportswear shops in The United States. To clear surplus goods, the business runs an additional 52 Eddie Bauer Outlet shops within america, along with the site. The business is a fully owned subsidiary of catalog retailer Spiegel, Inc., which is controlled by Germany's Otto family, majority owners and operators of Otto Versand GmbH & Co., the planet's biggest mailorder business. Through joint ventures with models of Otto Versand, Eddie Bauer operates stores and distributes catalogs in Germany and Japan and includes a cataloging only venture within great Britain. The organization also licenses the Eddie Bauer brand to other businesses, including Ford Motor Company, which has made Eddie Bauer edition sportutility vehicles since 1984; the Lane Company, for a distinct Eddie Bauer furniture; and Cosco, Inc., which sells Eddie Bauer car seats.
Early History
Developed by the son of Russian immigrants, Eddie Bauer, Inc. started as a tennis racquet stringing company in Seattle, Washington. While his parents would eventually play a critical part within the evolution of Eddie Bauer, Inc., Eddie Bauer initially drew upon his youth years on Orcas Island, a sparsely inhabited island near Seattle, while the motivation for what eventually would become a billiondollar retail company.
These early years were spent fishing, hunting, and trapping in the island, imbuing Bauer with a love of the outside. Bauer was 13 years-old and searching for work, when his family moved to Seattle in 1912. He instantly gravitated toward the sole fullline sporting goods retailer within town, Taft & Piper, and landed work for a stock boy. Over time, Bauer saw and learned, finally becoming skillful at making fly rods, firearms, and clubs. Along with these talents, Bauer also developed substantial ability in stringing tennis racquets, winning the world speed tournament, during a show window at Taft & Piper, by stringing 12 racquets in somewhat over three 5 hours. Still in his teens, Bauer already had obtained the interest of Seattle's athletic community. He frequently was known in local papers for killing the largest elk, or capturing the absolute most fish, or for winning rifle- and gun-shooting competitions. This local acknowledgement would function Bauer well when, in 1919, with $25 in his pocket and $500 borrowed on 120day mortgage, he rented 15 feet of surfaces in a gun look for $15 per month and started stringing racquets on their own. Within this enterprise, Bauer appreciated instant success, stringing enough racquets to amass $10,000 within his first-year. Encouraged by his first success, Bauer organized for credit from the financial institution and opened his own store, Eddie Bauer's Sport Store, in 1920, the forerunner of Eddie Bauer, Inc.
Along with his celebrated racquet - stringing abilities, Bauer also provided trout fishing flies and golf clubs during his first-year of company, and the storefront quickly became a sanctuary for sport enthusiasts through the Pacific Northwest. Bauer's success over these nascent years was in large part because of his reputation as a skilled outdoorsman and his active engagement within the athletic community. He worked at his shop from February through August every year, then hunted and fished through the winter. During these sojourns within the wild, he field-tested all of the gear he offered in his shops, which, following the very first year, contained an array of outside gear and clothes. This understanding of his own stock enabled him to provide an unconditional guarantee of satisfaction on every one of the merchandise sold in his own shop, a rarity for retail companies throughout the 1920s; he also established a firm creed, a couple of years after he opened for business. Bauer promoted athleticsing activities in his free time, raising the people's consciousness of such athleticss as ski by importing Norwegian hickory skis and convincing Norwegian skiers to return to the Pacific Northwest to help foster development within the athletics.
By 1924, Bauer had added an entire collection of fishing tackle, firearms, and skeet and snare gear to his shop and renamed it Eddie Bauer's Sporting Goods. Clients continued to flock to Bauer's shop, enticed by his unconditional guarantee along with his understanding of the outside. Eddie Bauer's Sporting Goods had fast become a favored area for outdoorsmen to outfit themselves for a broad number of athletic endeavors. With a big and faithful clientele, Bauer's future success seemed as guaranteed because the items he offered, but, in the forthcoming years, Bauer's standing as an effective operator of the local sporting goods shop could be elevated to a height not imagined even through the affirmative 1920s.
Bauer's success was predicated on his expertise as well as fascination with sporting gear, so it was fitting the initiation that will eventually establish his business to the top echelon of the outdoor clothing industry came as an effect, at least partly, of his urge to enhance sporting gear. In the late 1920s, Bauer tried to enhance the uniformity of flight in badminton shuttlecocks. He imported premium feathers from Europe and developed a procedure using buckshot that attained the desired effects. In 1934, his layout was patented and finally adopted to be used within the badminton world championships.
While investigating which kind of feather would enhance the flight of shuttlecocks, Bauer came across goose down, reminding him of an uncle who had once extolled the virtues of goose down's insulating quality. Years before, Bauer's uncle, a Cossack fighting in Manchuria during the RussoJapanese war, had worn a coat lined with goose-down to stave off the 50 degrees below zero winter months. Bauer, who had endured through several cold winters hunting and fishing within the mountains near Seattle, determined to utilize goose-down to produce a coat for himself. After creating and stitching a quilted goose down jacket for himself, Bauer found the truth of his own uncle's narrative and shortly was producing down jackets for a handful of his own buddies. The prevalence of the jackets led Bauer to patent his layout and start creation of America's first quilted, goose-down insulated jacket in 1936. Known as the 'Skyliner' and selling for $34.50, the jacket was an instant success, especially with Alaska bush pilots, and resulted in the creation of a broad range of garments with distinct quilting designs. Beginning with ten seamstresses in 1936, Bauer needed 125 by 1940 to fulfill the demand for his quilted jackets. With this time, Bauer had secured a virtual monopoly in the insulated jacket market, employing as many seamstresses as his quickly growing company needed and buying each of the North and European American goose-down he needed.
This way to obtain goose down, however, finished just like Bauer's quilted down garments started to entice orders throughout the email. If the Usa entered WWII in 1941, the war production board requisitioned all the goose-down provide in the marketplace and froze Bauer's present provide. Not able to buy or utilize goose-down, he was relegated to for a substitute, his sales that was negatively affected by a substitution using eiderdown. It seemed as if his booming retail trade was swept from him, but whatever losses Bauer incurred because of the government's seizure, he more than made up about them by supplying goose-down items to the U.S. Army Air Corps, starting in 1942. Initially, Bauer provided the military with snowshoes and sleeping bags and binders, which he sold at retail rates, and ultimately his company together with the authorities improved drastically. Utilizing the war production board's goose-down, Bauer made 25,000 flight suits and almost 250,000 sleeping bags for Air Corps flight crews and people fighting within the arctic Aleutian campaign. To fulfill the military's demands, Bauer constructed a production factory, invested about $200,000 in specially assembled machines, and hired 400 power sewing machine operators to operate in three shifts, seven days per week. This prodigious wartime generation salvaged what otherwise has been a recessive interval for Bauer's firm and, more significantly, additionally, it carried the Eddie Bauer name throughout the country. All the garments Bauer made for the military had the Eddie Bauer label stitched in it, the sole garments during the war that carried the maker's private-label.
Even though Bauer's civilian company slackened during the war, he continued to market to generate a need for his goods once the war ended. Once it did, he steeled himself for an instant return to the flourishing times of the late 30s. Expectations now ran higher, however, considering the incredible strides in name recognition because of the war the firm had made, so Bauer introduced a fresh method to bring his merchandises to the people. In 1945, just as much of those who had worn Eddie Bauer products during the war were returning home, Bauer issued the firm's first mailorder catalogs, through a section that was formed in 1942 to offer the goose-down products, Eddie Bauer Expedition Outfitters. Even though the launch of the catalogues represented a critical landmark within the organization's history, a far more urgent problem over these immediate postwar years overshadowed their import. Bauer's business appeared in danger of failing.
Bauer had invested in gear that may function only his creation needs throughout the war, to fill the requirements of his own contract together with the Air Corps. The machinery and also both gains were temporary, therefore, when the war finished, Bauer was left with the machinery and nowhere to sell it, leaving him in a dangerous situation. As he would later remember, 'We were caught with the machines and I lost almost everything I owned, right down to where I needed to begin once again.' To help with this rebuilding process, Bauer entered into a partnership in 1953 with William F. Niemi, Sr., a buddy with whom Bauer hunted and fished, and together they strengthened the organization by putting an emphasis to the mailorder aspect of the company and concentrating on creating a bigger collection of products (the organization was now formally called William F. Niemi Co. but was working as Eddie Bauer Expedition Outfitters). From this point forward, until the 1970s, Bauer's firm will be mainly a mailorder company. Before the close of the decade, Bauer would shut his shops in Seattle and rely almost completely on purchases made via the mail, together with the single retail sales being created by means of a factory shop in Seattle. In the late 1950s Niemi and Bauer also brought their sons to the venture.
The modifications produced by Niemi and Bauer worked. By sending catalogs to prospective clients and outfitting those outdoorsmen who came to the factory in Seattle, the business created $1 million in revenue in 1960. Even though Bauer's budget had appeared black 15 years before, the widespread acknowledgement of the Eddie Bauer name had consistently stayed protected. Now a brand new generation of prospective clients were being released for the Eddie Bauer line of goods through the catalogues arriving within the mail. With now, Bauer's business used almost half the planet's reserve of northern goose-down and had outfitted every American expedition to the Himalayas on the preceding ten years. The mountains were often selected by them in proximity to Seattle as appropriate sites, when mountaineers desired to train for attacks in the imposing peaks within the Himalayan range. By the 1960s, a trip to Bauer's factory shop became an all-natural stop for climbers needing clothes and gear, which further bolstered the country's recognition of the Eddie Bauer name. When James W. Whittaker became the first American to make it to the top of Mount Everest in 1963, he wore an Eddie Bauer parka, slept in an Eddie Bauer sleeping bag, and used Eddie Bauer gear, as did the whole excursion. 3 years later, Bauer's business outfitted the American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition, also it continued to create the preferred equipment for expeditions to follow in later years.
1968--71: Brief Stab at Independent Growth
By 1968, yearly sales in the business were approaching $ 5 million and fiscal planning and professional direction was certainly desired in the fast growing business. Eddie Bauer and his son determined to sell their half of the institution to Niemi and his son, Bill Niemi, Jr., for $1.5 million; a number of traders who had helped fund the buy out acquired stock within the organization, that has been included as Eddie Bauer, Inc. The conclusion of the sale in June 1968 marked Eddie Bauer's retirement in the business he'd started nearly 50 years before.
The brand new management team, headed by Niemi as chairperson and Niemi, Jr., as president, made some preliminary moves back into retailing, starting the very first store outside Seattle, in San Francisco, in 1968, plus a fresh store in downtown Seattle, the organization's first big store, in early 1970. The organization also consolidated its dispersed Seattle operations in a building on-airport Way in South Seattle that included production, customer support, government, warehousing, and supply at one place. By 1970 income had surged to $9.1 million, with gains surpassing $500,000. Needing money to finance an even more ambitious growth, Eddie Bauer, Inc. made plans for a public offering within the spring of 1970, however the underwriter of the IPO suggested a delay following a stock exchange dip. It was at this stage the management concluded the finest plan of action will be a deal of the business.
1971--88: The General Mills Age
In March 1971 food conglomerate General Mills, Inc. bought Eddie Bauer for about 311,000 shares of General Mills common stock, or about $10 million. The acquisition of Eddie Bauer was a part of General Mills' aggressive move into specialty retailing. What General Mills obtained was still basically a company, with a modest retail aspect. It was the latter section of Eddie Bauer that General Mills wished to fortify.
Many years passed, however, prior to the disparate merchandising philosophies of both companies would effectively join together and maybe even more until consistent leadership was obtained by Eddie Bauer. From 1975 to 1978 the business experienced four presidents, until eventually settling on James J. Casey, who had joined Eddie Bauer 3 years before. Currently, the area of Eddie Bauer's product-line was still in flux, as General Mills tried to reshape its subsidiary company's market attractiveness. 6 months after Casey assumed direction of the organization, he maneuvered it from a merchandising failure that had added golf and tennis attire for the organization's line of business. For clients inured to your product-line whose standing was built on outfitting expeditions to the Antarctic and production down parkas, the change was a challenging one to create, and when buying things for warmer climes potential clients went elsewhere. Although General Mills continued to fight with all the specialty outdoor marketplace niche, it had raised the amount of Eddie Bauer retail locations. From the end-of the decade, there were strategies and 16 shops in position to double that amount. In General Mills' first-year of possession, Eddie Bauer posted $11 million in sales, and, using the increase in sales supplied by the extra shops, sales rose to $80 million, position the business second only to L.L. Bean, Inc. within the specialty outdoor industry. The difference between catalog and retail sales evaporated, with half the total revenues generated by the shops, and 14 million catalog customers accounting for the balance. Meanwhile, the firm moved its headquarters once more in 1973, settling into a campus in Redmond, Washington.
By 1984, the changes started by General Mills had considerably changed the picture Eddie Bauer projected to the clients. Clothes now produced about 70% of the shop revenues, and a lot of it didn't resemble the clothes worn by members of the Mount Everest expedition, and even the clothes worn by weekend adventurers camping within the woods. Tents, backpacks, and fishing rods had slowly started to evaporate from the shelves of the organization's shops and were replaced with oxford cloth tops, lamb's wool sweaters, and other things uncharacteristic of the hardy, expedition outfitter. With 41 shops found in america and also Canada, the company broadened its allure & mdash - ough for Ford Motor Company to start creation of the Eddie Bauer Bronco II in 1984 - - and enticed an even more varied clientele. The growth of the side of the company represented a shift toward higher increase for the section too. In 1983, Eddie Bauer mailed 14 million catalogs, and, from the next year, 30 million catalogs were sent to possible clients, two million that were printed in French to adapt the firm's burgeoning clientele in Canada. Programs required additional growth of the organization's retail business, some 60 shops over the following five years. A substitution in direction was produced, to direct the business toward this target. In 1984, Michael Rayden replaced Casey and began separating retail, mail order, and making into three distinct sections.
By 1988, Eddie Bauer had 57 stores situated within america and Canada. But just like General Mills was announcing additional strategies to augment Eddie Bauer's retail holdings, the company put Eddie Bauer up for sale together with a different specialty clothes chain it possessed, Talbots, in a bid to divest itself of nonfood-connected companies.
1988 in the twenty-first century: The Spiegel Age
In 1988 Spiegel, Inc., a catalog marketer of clothes, home furnishings, and other goods, purchased Eddie Bauer for $260 million, about equivalent to the revenue the business created in the time of its own buy. Wayne Badovinus was chosen to direct Eddie Bauer and, on the following couple of years, 100 shops were added to the retail chain, bringing total revenue up-to $448 million. In 1991, Eddie Bauer's first 'Premier' shop was opened in Chicago, which housed all the organization's recently launched specialty products. 'All Week-long,' Eddie Bauer's selection of women's sportswear and informal apparel, first introduced as a catalogue business in 1987, had developed into a retail business by 1991 with the opening of its own first store in Portland, Oregon, and now was a part of the Leading store concept. Also contained in the Leading stores were 'The Sport Shop at Eddie Bauer,' featuring custombuilt fishing rods, reels, and fishing flies, and 'The Eddie Bauer Home Collection,' which offered a broad array of indoor and outdoor furnishings. The inclusion of the specialty retail concepts, each first launched in 1991, marked another jump in earnings. Within the three years since Spiegel had bought Eddie Bauer, the parent company had witnessed a rise in earnings from approximately $260 million, to almost $750 million, occasioned chiefly by the dramatic upsurge in Eddie Bauer's retail business. This growth continued after 1991, giving 265 shops to the business from the end-of 1992. Eddie Bauer Home became the longest-lasting of the brand new ideas, and by 1994 there were 15 such outlets in 11 states, and also the business was mailing out different Home catalogs six times each year. Earnings surpassed the $1 billion mark for the very first time in 1993.
The mid1990s were marked by continuing growth in North America in addition to the firm's first forays into foreign territory. The global growth was pursued through joint ventures with models of Otto Versand (GmbH & Co.), a German mailorder giant controlled by the Otto family, which also controlled Spiegel. In 1993 Eddie Bauer entered into a venture with Otto-Sumisho, Inc. to start shops and sell-through catalogs in Japan. A couple of years after the business joined with Otto Versand unit's Heinrich Heine GmbH and SportScheck GmbH in another endeavor created to establish retail and catalogue sales in Germany. From the end-of the decade there have been 35 Eddie Bauer stores in Japan and nine in Germany. A similar enterprise for the U.K. marketplace was made in 1996 but was discontinued three years later, with catalogue sales continuing through Eddie Bauer's German partnership.
During 1995, once the firm celebrated its 75th anniversary, Eddie Bauer started a new retail and catalogue concept, called AKA Eddie Bauer, selling upscale apparel clothes for men and women--a new line geared toward the burgeoning industry for much more informal work clothes. The organization's All Week Long notion was discontinued, with these shops converted into AKA Eddie Bauer models. Even amidst a depression in the whole retailing business, Eddie Bauer continued to grow in other ways too. In 1996 came the advent of the EBTEK line of high-performance outerwear and everyday activewear Polartec 200 and featuring such materials as Goretex. The exact same year, the firm established a third distribution channel with all the introduction of its own Internet site. Bucking early pattern in ecommerce, was producing a gain within a couple of years of its own introduction. During 1997 Eddie Bauer opened its 500th U.S. shop.
With its Ford venture continuing, Eddie Bauer entered into several more licensing deals within the late-1990s to help leverage its increasingly wellknown name. In 1997 the company inked a deal with all the Lane Company for the creation of the line of Eddie Bauer furniture. The next year Eddie Bauer mountain bikes were started with Giant Bicycle, Inc.; Eddie Bauer eyewear debuted through an arrangement with Signature Eyewear, Inc.; and Eddie Bauer baby and juvenile car seats were released together with Cosco, Inc.
After including a net 39 stores in 1998, and struggling with falling sales due to increased competition plus a sluggish response to popular new fashion trends for example cargo pants, Eddie Bauer reined in its Us growth the subsequent year, once the chain's net increase was only nine stores. That yr the firm also made some changes to its shop concepts. Eddie Bauer House was revamped to comprise less when it comes to upholstered furniture and tabletop items and more of the domestic items for bed and bathroom, including bedding and towels. The 40 house retailers also started featuring the Eddie Bauer Juvenile line of bedding and beds and raised its 'baby by Eddie Bauer' line of infant bedding and furniture. The AKA Eddie Bauer notion was discontinued in the shape of different shops, and also the AKA goods was incorporated into adjoining Eddie Bauer sportswear shops.
With a revamp of its own sportswear lines, Eddie Bauer was able to publish a six percent increase in comparable store sales in 1999, compared with a nine percent lower the preceding year. General revenues improved marginally that year, reaching $1.79 billion. During 2000, when Eddie Bauer intended to improve its Us retail units to 565 and to enlarge or remodel 40 present shops, a landmark was reached if the first Eddie Bauer store opened in Hawaii, finishing the chain's entry into all 50 states.
Since 1920, several images have been evoked by the Eddie Bauer name. What once represented fishing tackle, firearms, and mountaineering gear now, in the early 21st-century, stood for durable, comfortable attire As Eddie Bauer intended for the future, supported by its numerous routes of distribution, its products seemed to stay as powerful as the infamous Eddie Bauer name.
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