While it’s not exactly accurate to say the Big Book is back, Sears has created a holiday Wish Book catalog for the first time in 14 years. The more contemporary looking, slimmed-down version of the title (188-pages vs. the 300-plus pages of yesteryear) dropped in early October. The company would not disclose circulation, but Sears chief marketing officer Richard Gerstein says the Wish Book mailed only to customers.
The catalog’s product line includes toys, apparel, jewelry, appliances, tools, and holiday items, with price points ranging from a $20 wrench-like bottle opener to a 50-in. Panasonic plasma television for $2,400. The Wish Book itself can be ordered online or via phone, or picked up in catalog bins in Sears stores.
The book is tailored to its customers’ lifestyles and shopping habits, Gerstein says. “The front half of the catalog is dedicated to the top gift ideas from a variety of categories based on themes,” he notes. “The second half of the book is primarily toys, including video games.”
Sears is not the only general merchant trotting a holiday big book back out. Its former catalog rival Montgomery Ward mailed a Holiday Gift book for the second consecutive year. The 180-page book also arrived in mailboxes the first week of October, and includes items such as holiday decor, apparel, footwear, electronics, furniture, jewelry, and toys.
The holiday catalog debut last year was “extremely well received,” says David Milgrom, president of Montgomery Ward parent company Direct Marketing Services. The second holiday catalog is larger than last year’s “and our Wards.com Website will swell to more than 50,000 products during the holiday season.” The original Montgomery Ward was liquidated in 2001. Direct Marketing Services acquired the brand and brought it back to life in 2004.