A slight rebound in October

After months of posting declining volume, Catalog Tracker bounced back — sort of. The service of Greenwich, CT-based list service provider Direct Media logged in 530 catalogs in October, a 2% increase over the 522 received the same month in 2006.

Catalog Tracker in September saw a 9% decline in catalogs received compared with the same month in 2006. The third quarter catalog volume was down 22% from the previous year.

The use of various promotions held steady with 2006 use. For instance, the percentage offering deferred billing in 2007 remained unchanged from October 2006 at 6%.

Free shipping inched up just a bit: 14% of the books received by Catalog Tracker in October 2007 offered the promotion vs. 13% in October 2006. Some catalogers settled for offers of cheap shipping: Hobbies book Barbie Collector promoted $1 shipping, while stationery and labels mailer Current offered $2.99 to ship an order.

For many of the women’s apparel and accessories catalogers, 25 seemed to be the magic number for promotions. Aerosoles discounted all boots 25% to entice shoppers; Caché included a $25 gift card on the inside cover; and Chico’s offered a $25 coupon.

October catalogers also offered deep discounts. Apparel and accessories mailer Sheplers included an eight-page clearance insert in its Christmas book. General merchant Macy’s mailed a fall update with a cover that promoted discounts of 50% to 80%.

And the holiday reminders began early at children’s catalog Chasing Fireflies and hobby and sports products mailer Genuine HotRod. Both recommend a ship date of Dec. 20 for Christmas delivery. Apparel merchant Talbots promoted Dec. 21 as the recommended ship date.

Home decor and housewares merchant Williams-Sonoma promoted earlier holidays, with an Oct. 27 order date for guaranteed Halloween delivery in its November book, and Nov. 19 for Thanksgiving delivery in its November and Thanksgiving books.

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