Fingerhut catalog to relaunch Nov. 9

FAC Acquisitions,

which bought defunct general merchandise catalog Fingerhut from Federated Department Stores in July, plans to put the Fingerhut book back in the mail on Nov. 9.

The company won’t reveal many details yet. In fact, Ted Deikel, the former Fingerhut chairman/CEO who with partner Tom Petters is leading the new Fingerhut Direct Marketing operation, commented only briefly through a prepared statement.

But spokesperson Mary Pernula does say that the new Fingerhut book will offer a merchandise mix similar to that of its previous incarnation, selling everything from housewares to consumer electronics to apparel. The 216-page catalog will mail to previous Fingerhut customers, who are mostly from lower-middle-class household, and it will offer easy-payment, interest-bearing credit terms similar to those Fingerhut was known for. Orders will be fulfilled from Fingerhut’s St. Cloud, MN, distribution center as well as from its Minnetonka, MN, headquarters.

“To get the catalog out in time for the holiday season, we had to work very quickly,” Pernula says. “Beyond this mailing, we’ll have to wait and see what happens, what our response is, and how it goes. We’re cautiously optimistic, but it’s hard to know, since the catalog has been idle for a year.” The last Fingerhut catalog mailed during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2001.

The company is in discussions with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE), which had formerly represented Fingerhut workers, to fill distribution center jobs in St. Cloud. The company plans to hire up to 60 employees during the next month. So far, “many positions” have been filled, although the company won’t give specific figures.

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