Seta Puts Relanched Service Merchandise Catalog On Hold

Service Merchandise, the one-time catalog showroom retailer that attempted a comeback through a mail order catalog last spring, has been tabled at least until early next year. Due to a lack of response, Seta Corp., the Boca Raton, FL-based jewelry catalog syndicator, will confine Service Merchandise’s presence to a Website that contains the same merchandise sold at Seta’s Palm Beach Jewelry site and catalog.

“The print program wasn’t as successful as we’d have hoped,” says Seta president Fred Neil. “so we’re continuing to do a cobranded Service Merchandise jewelry Website with our Palm Beach Jewelry site, and are reevaluating what our catalog strategy will be.” He adds that the company is currently evaluating its modeling efforts with the former Service Merchandise retail file, and “if we find some segments to mail, we’ll probably mail them another catalog for Valentine’s Day next year.”

Seta handles Service Merchandise’s entire program, paying royalties on all sales. Seta in early May dropped a 60-page Service Merchandise jewelry book to 150,000 of the company’s former customers. In addition to its own Palm Beach Jewelry catalog, Seta produces jewelry sections and catalogs for Army Air Force Exchange Service, Newport News, and Chadwick’s of Boston, among others.

Former Service Merchandise chairman/CEO Raymond Zimmerman, who in November 2002 bought the rights to the Service Merchandise name, remains closely involved in the company he used to run. Service Merchandise filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 1999, closed its last stores in early 2002. In addition to discounted jewelry, both fine and costume, Service Merchandise sold appliances, home decor, and consumer electronics. At its peak in the early 1990s, it was the country’s largest catalog showroom retailer.

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