Revving up finally

Catalog Tracker’s mailbox was chock full of consumer books in November. All told, the service of Greenwich, CT-based list services firm Direct Media logged in 569 catalogs, up nearly 2% from the 559 books received in November 2005. In fact, November was the first month since February in which Catalog Tracker saw an increase in year-over-year volume.

Fifteen percent of the November catalogs carried some sort of free shipping and handling offer. That’s the same percentage as the previous November, though up three percentage points from 12% in October 2006. But at 5%, the percentage of November 2006 books offering deferred billing was down from both October 2006 (6%) and November 2005 (7%). Nearly 6% of the catalogs promised a gift with purchase, consistent with the previous November and the previous month.

Just about 11% of the catalogs posted on their covers their deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery, which was again consistent with the previous November. The latest deadline was Dec. 22, the Friday before Christmas: gifts cataloger/retailer Brookstone; outdoor sporting goods merchant Cabela’s; live-flowers mailer Calyx & Corolla; home decor titles Company Kids, The Company Store, and West Elm; Fahrney’s Pens; apparel and decor catalog Garnet Hill; jewelry cataloger Heavenly Treasures; and women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Victoria’s Secret all promised Christmas delivery for in-stock items ordered that day. Interestingly, West Elm’s sister titles Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn had a guaranteed-delivery deadline of Dec. 21.

The Will You Let Us Catch Our Breath Award goes to women’s apparel title Boston Proper, whose “Spring Preview” edition arrived the week before Thanksgiving. Yes, yes, time flies, and there’s no time like the present, but still….

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