Newport News to unveil rebranding effort

Devotees of Spiegel’s Newport News catalog will likely notice a different look to the book beginning with its spring 2003 issue, scheduled to mail in January. The apparel and home furnishings cataloger is in the midst of a rebranding effort complete with refocused merchandising, editorial-driven spreads, and new layouts and logo.

The new catalog is the result of comprehensive customer research. In addition to the $449 million Newport News, parent company Spiegel produces the Eddie Bauer and Spiegel titles. Newport News has 4.2 million customers and last year mailed 254 million catalogs.

“While many catalogs focus on merchandise-heavy spreads, Newport News has revamped its layout to be more editorial-focused and engage our customers in a unique way to deliver what they’ve told us they want,” Newport News president/chief operating officer Geralynn Madonna said in a statement.

Among the catalog’s new features is a “Question & Answer” section that provides solutions to customers’ style questions. Each catalog will focus on a different fashion dilemma, with the inaugural “Question & Answer” spread providing shoppers with advice on what to wear to work.

Of course, the company hopes the rebranding effort will spark renewed interest from consumers. According to Spiegel’s financial reports, September sales for Newport News fell 31% from last year, following significant though unspecified circulation cuts. Also not helping matters are more-restrictive credit policies implemented in the Spiegel’s private-label credit-card business. Spiegel wants to attract and retain higher-quality credit customers.

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