H&M has discontinued its catalog after 39 years in an effort to be relevant, convenient and inspiring, the company said.
“Shopping from a catalog simply isn’t relevant to today’s consumers and we have therefore decided to discontinue our catalog business,” H&M said in a statement.
H&M said the company is dedicated to sustainability and is constantly looking for ways reduce its environmental impact, although one would think the channel would not shut down had it been succeeding. “This is gradual work and now the turn has come to the catalog business,” the company in its statement.
The catalog dates back to the Swedish mail order business Rowells, which was acquired by H&M in 1980 and was still being published in six of its 72 markets.
The company said in its statement discontinuation is a result of the changing shopping patterns as more customers choose to shop online.
“With more than 4,400 H&M stores in 72 markets across the world and online shopping in 48 markets, we still offer fashion fans plenty of fashion inspiration in other channels that are more relevant to today’s consumers,” said the company.
While rumors of the catalog’s demise are legion and longstanding, the stalwart channel appears to have life in the digital age. Eighty percent of respondents to the 2019 MCM Outlook still have a print catalog. The survey listed it as the fourth most popular channel, cited by 45% of respondents, below ecommerce site (76%), social media (75%) and email (70%). On the downside, 60% of respondents said plan to discontinue their catalog in 2019.
While H&M is saying goodbye to its catalog, Amazon launched its first toy catalog this past season after Toys R Us closed its doors. Other major retailers including Kohls, Walmart and Target also sent out holiday toy catalogs in a mad scrum for kiddie play dollars left on the table.
During the 2017 holiday season, Sears brought back its beloved Wish Book, in one sign of life. On the downside, Victoria’s Secret discontinued its one-ubiquitous catalog in 2016 after parent company L Brands said the effort was costing $125 million to $150 million a year. Victoria’s Secret ran it again for a year in two significant markets and didn’t see any change in sales.