No More Bloomingdale’s By Mail

Thirty years after it launched the book to target affluent customers nationwide, Bloomingdale’s is discontinuing its Bloomingdale’s By Mail catalog.

The merchant will instead shift its direct-to-consumer focus to growing its Website. It also aims to expand its existing Bloomingdale’s catalog, which is produced by its department store division and used to drive traffic to stores. The Bloomingdale’s By Mail catalog will be completely phased out by early 2009.

So what’s the difference between the two books? Bloomingdale’s By Mail includes merchandise not found in the department stores. It is geared toward status-seeking buyers who wanted the opportunity to buy via catalog, said spokesman David Ender.

And with Bloomingdale’s expanding its retail footprint to 40 stores from coast to coast, Ender says the Bloomingdale’s By Mail brand became obsolete.

“The department store’s catalogs feature merchandise that can be found in our stores,” Ender says. “The catalogs we are eliminating had merchandise that was less congruent with store content, and whose main purpose was to get people to pick up the phone and order.”

Also, the circulation of the Bloomingdale’s catalog was about twice the size of Bloomingdale’s By Mail, which has 472,603 12-month mail order buyers, according to its data card. The average purchase for Bloomingdale’s By Mail is $190.

Ender said 125 people work in the direct-to-consumer group, but only 17 are directly affected by the discontinuation of Bloomingdale’s By Mail. Those associates will be offered the opportunity to interview for other positions within the company.

The company, a division of Macy’s, said in a statement that the restructuring will occur incrementally over the next eight months, and will create a more efficient and focused organization to capitalize on the opportunities within the online business. Macy’s expects to do $1 billion in online sales this fiscal year.