Examples of CafePress products | Photo By Boris Ladwig

CafePress shares spiked Wednesday morning after CEO Fred Durham had told investors the night before that 2016 marked a “successful and transformational year.”

The Louisville-based e-commerce retailer on Tuesday evening also had reported higher fourth-quarter revenue and profit. CafePress sells more than a billion customizable items, from T-shirts to watches and shower curtains.

Fourth-quarter revenue, at $43.7 million, rose 7.5 percent from a year earlier, while net income rose 258 percent, to $2.9 million. While gross profit changed little, operating expenses fell nearly 10 percent. Higher expenses for sales, marketing and restructuring were more than offset by lower spending on impairment charges and general and technology expenditures.

CafePress said that it received $1.3 million orders in the fourth quarter, up 23.3 percent from a year earlier. Executives in the call with investors even said that they probably priced their items a little too low, judging by consumer response, especially during the busy holiday season.

For the year, revenue fell 4.6 percent, to $102 million, though Durham told investors that each year-over-year revenue growth improved each quarter last year.

The fourth quarter rounded out “a successful and transformational year for CafePress,” Durham said.

The CEO said that the company made investments throughout the year geared at optimizing performance. That included investments in its manufacturing and fulfillment center, technology infrastructure, brand studies and its employees. These investments, he said, have put CafePress in a position for growth.

Steps the company took last year included unveiling its new $2.5 million corporate HQ, restructuring and job cuts, as Insider reported in December.

Fred Durham

“The return to revenue growth was one of our top priorities,” Durham told investors. “We believe that the investments and focus we have applied over the past two years have put us on the right track and that these achievements demonstrate our ability to execute and to deliver steady results.”

In the last two years, he said, the company has focused on quality and has not introduced any new products, but that will change this year.

“The second phase of heavy lifting is behind us,” he said.

In addition, he said, CafePress hopes to re-energize its customer base by transforming itself from a search-driven e-commerce retailer to more of a browse company, where people stop by the website without any specific product in mind but hoping to stumble on something interesting.

“We are extremely excited about our future,” he said.

In early afternoon trading, CafePress shares were trading at $3.26, up 12 percent. Broader markets showed little change.

Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.