H&M will cease printing its catalog after 39 years
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from Retail Dive, an e-newsletter and website providing a 60-second bird’s eye view of the latest retail news and trends.
H&M has announced plans to discontinue its catalog business.
The catalog originated with the 1980 purchase of mail order business Rowells and is currently published in six of 72 markets.
“At H&M we are dedicated to sustainability and we are constantly improving our business to reduce our impact on the environment,” said a company statement. ”This is a gradual work and now the turn has come to the catalogue business which we have decided to discontinue with immediate effect.”
The fast fashion retailer added that the changes come “as shopping patterns change and customers nowadays choose to shop online.”
H&M is announcing a flurry of changes, especially when it comes to sustainability. In March, the fast fashion retailer stated that the company will stop placing orders on conventional cashmere in an effort aimed at a more transparent supply chain.
The change also comes as Amazon mailed out its first toy catalog this past November and other executions suggest catalogs can prove to be a more effective marketing tool than e-mail.
“What you’re trying to get when you have catalog marketing is a reason to pull consumers into your product selection — and glossy paper tends to be able to do that in a way that an email that’s one of 100 doesn’t really do,” Greg Portell, lead partner in the global consumer and retail practice of A.T. Kearney, said in an interview with Retail Dive at the end of last year.
Yet, H&M now joins a number of retailers who have either ceased catalog production or pulled back. In 2016 Victoria’s Secret announced that it was stopping its production, and in August IKEA announced that it would be pulling back on catalogs to support the company’s sustainability goals
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What factors, in your mind, argue for or against dumping retail print catalogs? Do you see environmental concerns as a significant factor in the decision to discontinue catalogs as a marketing tool?