KlearGear Apparently Healthier Than Ever, Announces Plans To Start F**cking Customers Through Amazon Fulfillment
from the the-fakest-of-paper-trails dept
In what may come as a surprise to no one, KlearGear’s parent “company,” Descoteaux Boutiques, has decided to rid itself of the toxic online retailer. But it’s not because of horrible policies, nonexistent customer service or the $300,000 judgement against it. It’s because KlearGear is so hot right now. (h/t to Techdirt reader Jeff Cohen.)
PARIS, Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — International giftware developer, distributor and retailer Descoteaux Boutiques (DBS) has completed negotiations for the sale of its remaining retail holdings Gift World and Kleargear at 5.3 times projected 2014 EBITDA.
DBS began divesting its retail assets in 2011 after reacquiring outstanding shares of stock from its largest creditors, exporter Shenzhen Technology Gifts and North American fulfillment contractor Chenal Brands, exchanged in a minority debt-for-equity swap with six creditors under a conciliation procedure in 2006. The sale of these final properties is expected to close within 90 days, during the final phase of DBS’ restructuring.
Three brick-and-mortar Gift World shops located in France and the United Kingdom are not included in the deal and will cease operations in January 2015.
Earnings at 5.3 times projection, eh? Makes you wonder what the projection was. And as for “Gift World,” these brick-and-mortar retail shops should be easily closed seeing as they don’t seem to exist anywhere but in this press release.
KlearGear has apparently shrugged off the damage to its reputation and has big plans for the future.
Gadget and geek culture merchant Kleargear.com (http://www.kleargear.com), whose calendar 2014 revenue year-to-date has climbed 92% above the same period in 2013, will complete the transition of its North American fulfillment operations to Amazon Fulfillment in October when its contract with Chenal expires.
“We believe this move will help improve order fulfillment speed during the holiday shopping season by more than 30%,” said CEO Christophe Monette. “Our transition to Amazon’s wider, more robust fulfillment network will help us remain competitive and accommodate Kleargear’s remarkable growth rate which accelerated in 2013 and has already exceeded our current year forecast.”
Considering KlearGear’s fulfillment speed has hovered near zero for most of its existence, a 30% boost isn’t promising much. I consider this statement by the non-existent CEO to be about as worthless as anything else the company has claimed. I don’t see KlearGear working with Amazon at any point ever, but if it does, it may soon find that the online giant has a very low tolerance for lousy retailers with abysmal customer service practices and policies.
There’s more but it hardly matters. Supposedly employee displacement will be minimal. Descoteaux Boutiques credits its “North American outsourcing” for this, but my educated guess is that there aren’t really any employees to displace.
A new phone number appears at the bottom of the press release [(646) 810-9268] which traces back to New York City, but it’s as useless as any other phone number the company has provided. Callers are greeted with an opening spiel in French before being spoken to in English. Callers inquiring about Descoteaux’s retail holdings (Gift World, KlearGear) are asked to press “1.” Doing so results in the message “Invalid selection. Please try again.”
The same goes for every other number on the keypad, except for 8, which dumps you into the company’s directory (where no selection of numbers/letters will put you in touch with a person) and 9, which replays the message you just heard. After 3 or 4 invalid selections, the phone system says “Bye” and disconnects the call.
Callers are also invited to remain on the line for the next available operator, but after five seconds or so the call is disconnected with another recorded “Bye.”
No company or person named in the press release (other than Lee Gersten) has much of an internet footprint, if they have anything at all. Any websites that exist are nearly static. Descoteaux Boutiques’ site carries nothing but useless contact info and a link to this press release. (The link to the French version of the release doesn’t work.)
Chenal Brands’ retail holdings are fronted by this site.
Three of the four links on the page (About Us, Clients, Contact Us) link to this very page. “Expertise” leads to this set of hilarious claims.
And every bullet point links to… the same page you’re already on.
Also of interest: KlearGear’s former parent “company” Descoteaux Boutiques finally got around to registering a KlearGear trademark in April. The USPTO granted it in the first week of August. In the application, Descoteaux is listed as the owner of the mark with its supposed address in France,
but lists a US zip code of 75013. This doesn’t link back to any of KlearGear’s other “addresses” (Michigan, Delaware, San Antonio, Texas) but instead to a Dallas, TX suburb — probably the result of picking five digits at random rather than indicative of any physical presence. Update: As multiple comments point out, the postal code does appear to be a valid French postal code, rather than a US one.
No buyer is named in the press release and there’s not a single claim in it that can be verified. The only conceivable reason this press release even exists is as a piss-poor effort to publicly distance Descoteaux from KlearGear. It’s instant deniability. Descoteaux can’t answer any questions about KlearGear because it “sold” it. It also distances it from J. Lee Gersten, the only principal in the debacle who seems to have any sort of a paper trail. (“In connection with the asset sale, DBS’ head of North American retail operations, J. Lee Gersten, has left the company effective immediately.”)
The story probably isn’t over yet, but it looks like Descoteaux’s already trying to write the ending… or at least, tear several pages out of the back.