SPIN-OFFS: Nordstrom branches out

Cataloger/retailer launches two books, plans third

Sure, Nordstrom is heavily promoting its shoe Website with a national print and TV ad campaign, but the Seattle-based marketer remains firmly committed to its print catalogs. Not only did it recently relaunch its core women’s apparel catalog as Life/style, but it also spun off two additional titles – fellow women’s apparel book Clothes for Life and women’s shoes catalog Nordstromshoes.com – and will mail The Men’s Catalog in early spring.

According to Victoria Dellinger, general manager of direct sales for Nordstrom.com, the cataloger/retailer’s direct marketing arm, the new titles are intended to reach the breadth and depth of Nordstrom buyers. “We had an opportunity to focus on two kinds of customers, but to do it all in one book is confusing,” she says. Formerly known as simply Nordstrom, the Life/style title targets women looking for comfort and function. The Clothes for Life buyers are a bit more urban and cutting-edge – “contemporary women with busy lives, such as working moms,” Dellinger says, though she won’t disclose the demographic differences between the audiences.

The Nordstromshoes.com catalog, renamed from its initial launch as Sole Mates, targets the Clothes for Life buyers, offering shoes from upscale brands such as Kenneth Cole, DKNY, and Via Spiga. The book also acts as a traffic driver for the Website, which like the catalog debuted in fall 1999.

Just as Nordstrom’s stores sell men’s apparel as well as women’s, Nordstrom.com is launching – or rather, reintroducing – a men’s clothing catalog. The company had tested a men’s catalog in 1995 but shelved it after only one issue.

“The book was successful, but at the time of its launch the company was growing quickly, and we were running out of fulfillment space,” Dellinger says. “We had to make a decision to cut our core Nordstrom catalog or our men’s catalog, and we cut the men’s.”

The men’s catalog, she adds, is in response to customer demand. “We have quite a few men who shop online, and a print catalog is a way to support that.”

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