New Jersey company hopes to get SkyMall off the ground

New SkyMall owner will likely pull away from the sales of weird and wild products

A New Jersey-based company with a history of trying to revive struggling businesses has acquired the SkyMall catalog out of bankruptcy.

C&A Marketing, which makes and distributes photographic and electronic equipment, purchased SkyMall at a bankruptcy auction in Phoenix on Wednesday for $1.9 million.

C&A also purchased Ritz Camera & Image out of bankruptcy two years ago and purchased the licensing rights for Polaroid still cameras after it came out of bankruptcy in 2008.  

In a statement, C&A Executive Vice President Chaim Pikarski said SkyMall was the victim of advances in technology that allowed airline passenger to shop online, making a catalog that was stuffed in nearly every airline seat back pocket "less relevant and more entertaining."

C&A promised to save SkyMall but offered few details.

"SkyMall is a brand people are excited about," said Harry Klein, president of C&A Marketing. "Our vision for the brand is to make it relevant to today's travelers. We plan on meeting with anyone who shares that vision."

In an interview, Pikarski said the catalog that was inserted into seatback pockets never generated enough money to pay for the printing and distributing costs. But he said the SkyMall website continues to generate lots of traffic and sales.

He suggested the SkyMall magazine might instead be distributed in airports and hotels, instead of airplanes.

"By next year, SkyMall will be a better product," he said. "We are sticking to the roots but it will be different."

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


4:55 P.M.: This post has been updated with new comments from C&A Marketing.