Penney Cutting Back on Catalogs, Again
RetailWire reported that J.C. Penney
would no longer publish
its twice-yearly 1,000-page "Big Book" catalog, most of the comments
on this site seemed to agree with the move.
At the time, Mike Boylson, chief
marketing officer at Penney, said in a statement, "Big
book catalogs have become less relevant as customers have embraced shopping
online, where they have ready access to our entire assortment at any time on
jcp.com, one of the nation’s largest general merchandise sites on the internet.
At the same time, customers greatly appreciate the smaller, more personalized
catalogs we have introduced as well as digital and mobile applications that
make it easier, more convenient and fun to shop with us."
Less than a year
later, Penney has announced it will stop publishing "the
smaller, more personalized catalogs" next year. Instead, the company plans
to mail "look books," which contain fewer products, to point consumers
to the company’s website for product information and current pricing.
latest decision takes place even though the chain has admitted it had not fully
factored in the number of people who look at a catalog and then order online
when it made the decision to kill its big book. Penney CEO Myron "Mike" Ullman
told attendees of the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference that sales
were hurt more than expected when it discontinued the catalog, according to
Morning News report.
"We’re not getting out of the print business. … We’re transitioning
from the catalog, which is essentially a static vehicle," Mr. Ullman
Darcie Brossart, a spokesperson for J.C. Penney, told The Dallas Morning
News that cutting the catalogs not only saves the company money on printing
and related costs, but that it enabled it to reduce inventory when buying functions
were consolidated across its off- and online channels.
The company has set
a goal of increasing online sales by $5 billion over the next three years.
Sales via jcp.com have been around $1.5 billion a year over the past
three years. The home products category, which represents about half the company’s
online sales, have been particularly hard hit during that period.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of J.C. Penney’s continuing move
away from print to online and mobile? Is there any concern that it will lose
sales again as it transitions from targeted catalogs to "look books" as
a direct marketing tool?
- J.C. Penney to quit catalogs but will keep sending ‘look books’ that refer
shoppers to stores, website – The Dallas Morning News
- JCPenney Transforms Catalog Strategy to Better Serve Customer Preferences –
J. C. Penney Company, Inc./Business Wire