JCPenney Brings Back Its Dead-Tree Catalog

Customers use it to shop online
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2015 6:42 AM CST
JCPenney Brings Back Its Dead-Tree Catalog
JCPenney is bringing back big catalogs.   (AP Photo/Public Opinion, Markell DeLoatch)

JCPenney has found that even in the Internet age, print has its place. Decades after launching its big catalog in 1963, JCPenney stopped sending it in 2009. Now, the company is restoring the catalog, having found that many online shoppers—some 31%, according to analysts—use the book as inspiration, the Wall Street Journal reports. With JCPenney's gradual departure from print (smaller catalogs and "look books" continued in various forms, the Dallas Morning News noted), "We lost a lot of customers," says CEO Mike Ullman. The catalog once reached 1,000 pages; the new version, while still fairly hefty, will only be about 120.

Starting in March, specially-chosen customers will get a look at its offerings, which will focus on home goods. JCPenney isn't alone in seeing the advantages of print, the Journal notes: J. Crew and Williams-Sonoma are among fans of the catalog, as are some web-focused retailers. Bonobos started sending them out just two years ago. "At the time, everyone said digital was the future and catalogs were old time," says a rep. But "our catalog customers tend to spend more … and our catalog customers who make purchases at our brick-and-mortar stores are our best customers overall.” (More JCPenney stories.)

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