Saks Back in Catalog Business

MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT has learned that the Saks.com division of Birmingham, AL-based retailer Saks is mailing print catalogs again. The company unveiled the first Saks.com print catalog this past September. An 88-page spring edition of the apparel and accessories book dropped in late February/early March to an undisclosed amount of existing Saks.com clients and prospects. Two more editions will mail in the spring, and three catalogs are scheduled for fall 2006.

The new catalogs are part of larger initiative at Saks to lure back women age 35-50, and a move away from its previous strategy of going after twenty-somethings. The print books are also designed to drive traffic to the Website, says company spokesperson Andree Corroon. Saks.com is one the fastest growing aspects of the business, she says. In fact, Saks counts the Web as its third largest “store” behind the New York and Beverly Hills stores.

Saks had ceased catalog mailings in 2001 when it scrapped its Folio book and sold its menswear brand Bullock & Jones. Corroon insists that the latest print initiative is not an attempt to revive the Folio direct business. But the fact that Saks is starting mail catalogs again a few years after it shut them down “is an indication that the company may have overestimated the power of the Web as a stand alone entity,” says Michael Grant, president of Scarsdale, NY-based marketing consultancy Michael Grant Direct. “It speaks to the power of a multichannel model that the power of the three channels working together is greater than the three channels working alone.”

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