Will Strong Spring Mean a Strong Fall?

Life is good for catalogers — at least according to Mokrynski & Associates. “The catalog industry has been in the beginning stages of a recovery since late 2003,” says Steve Tamke, senior vice president for the Hackensack, NJ-based list firm. “A large majority of companies report their sales met or exceeded both their sales plans and prior-year results in December through March.”

And Tamke has the numbers from Mokrynski’s catalog clients to back his claims:

  • March 2004: 68% met or beat plan; 79% met or beat March 2003
  • February 2004: 74% met or beat plan; 69% met or beat February 2003
  • January 2004: 62% met or beat plan; 78% met or beat January 2003
  • December 2003: 61% met or beat plan; 72% met or beat December 2002

“Early results from April indicate a continuation of this trend,” Tamke says, noting that this is the first time in more than a year that the list firm has seen five consecutive months of positive sales reports among its clients. “Even more important,” he adds, “it’s the first time in more than two years that we’ve seen three consecutive seasons with positive results.”

The March and April results point to a strong summer season ahead, Tamke says.

And although Tamke says that catalogers overall should “plan on a relatively strong fall season,” he cautions that “we probably won’t see a surge in holiday response until after the presidential election.” As for holiday, mailers should plan on “especially strong ordering activity beginning the second week of November,” he says, “and continuing until the last few days before Christmas.”

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