SkyMall bankruptcy surprises few.
If you see a SkyMall catalogue in the seatback on your next flight, you might want to save it — it could soon be a collector’s item.
The venerable in-flight shopping diversion and its parent company have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with an eye toward selling off their assets.
What was the nail in the coffin? Too many flyers so busy looking at their personal electronic devices that they had no time to browse through SkyMall’s eclectic and eccentric product offerings.
Also, more travelers were likely getting used to browsing through shopping sites like Amazon or others via planes equipped with inflight wi-fi. For example, Gogo periodically allows travelers to browse sites such as Amazon for free. Over the holidays, it allowed bored passengers free online access to over 30 retailers.
In the Wall Street Journal story that broke this morning, SkyMall chief executive Scott Wiley cited a “crowded, rapidly evolving and intensely competitive” retail environment as the reason for the quarterly publication’s recent struggles. “With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog,” he said.
Who is left holding the (shopping) bag? Sounds like the airlines. In court papers, SkyMall named Delta, American and US Airways as its largest unsecured creditors. Assets are between $1 million and $10 million and total liabilities are about $12 million.
When Delta and Southwest ended their contract with SkyMall last fall, the handwriting seemed on the wall for the company.
Perhaps someone will buy the brand and somehow turn it around. It certainly seems to have a place in the national psyche…that’s worth something!
Readers: What would you do with the SkyMall brand if you bought it?
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