Is it time for Victoria’s Secret to say goodbye to its print catalog?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
L Brands recently indicated it will either outright eliminate or significantly reduce the mailings of its iconic Victoria’s Secret catalog as part of a larger move to focus on core products and digital advertisements.
The company is also reorganizing into three business units — Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Pink and Victoria’s Secret Beauty — cutting 200 home office jobs, reducing its promotional offers, and eliminating some non-core categories, including swim. The changes come as the lingerie chain has been outperforming much of retail with comparable-store sales ahead five percent in 2015.
The Wall Street Journal was among those that reported the catalog is being discontinued, although it wasn’t certain if it was only being de-emphasized. L Brand officials declined further comment.
Touching on the catalog closing, L Brands said in a statement that it is “evolving how the business connects with customers through more focus on loyalty programs and brand-building engagement rather than traditional catalogues and offers.”
The catalog, featuring scantily clad supermodels, has been around for at least three decades. The retailer typically sent out between 250 million to 300 million copies in 22 installments globally each year.
Catalogs are seen by many as bad for the environment and as mailbox spam. Retail Touchpoints also noted that, in addition to expense, it’s more difficult for brands to target paper catalogs to specific customer groups or individuals compared to digital forms of marketing and communications.
The catalog business has seen a resurgence or at least stabilized in recent years.
J.C. Penney Co. eliminated its catalog in 2010, but brought it back in 2015 after finding customers browse catalogs and then buy online. Restoration Hardware, Chico’s, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, J. Crew, L.L. Bean and Athleta still sending out catalogs.
In a research note entitled, “Every Guy’s Worst Nightmare,” Citi analyst Paul Lejuez, estimated the company would save about $100 million by eliminating the catalogs, but the move could hurt sales “as the brand may be less top of mind with male and female customers long-term.”
- L Brands Reports March 2016 Sales – L Brands
- Does End Of Victoria’s Secret Catalog Signal Print Marketing’s Demise? – Retail TouchPoints
- Victoria’s Secret Turns Its Back on the Catalog – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Victoria’s Secret may ‘tread water’ upon swim exit – CNBC
Should Victoria’s Secret discontinue its catalog? What do you see as the pros and cons of such a move?