Potpourri Buys Country Store Catalog

The Potpourri Group stable of catalogs is a little bigger: The multititle mailer in late August acquired the Country Store catalog from Reader’s Digest Association. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Like Potpourri Group’s flagship title, the Country Store targets mature customers and sells women’s apparel and fashion accessories, home and garden items and gifts. Reader’s Digest has owned the title since it bought Reiman Publications in March 2002.

How did the deal come about? A merchandise vendor the two companies had in common alerted Potpourri Group to the potential opportunity in late spring, says Potpourri Group president/CEO Jonathan Fleischmann. “Several of our brands have been acquired that way,” he noted.

Reader’s Digest decided to sell Country Store because it wanted the Reiman unit to focus on books and calendars rather than hard goods and consumer apparel, Fleischmann says. (Country Store will continue to carry the former owner’s cookbooks and select publications, as will some of the other Potpourri titles in the future.)

The companies signed a preliminary agreement in July, and Potpourri immediately got to work on planning the fall/holiday Country Store edition. The new, 64-page Country Store catalog is scheduled to hit homes the week of Sept. 27.

Fleischmann would not disclose the circulation but says it is “substantial.” Country Store has about 200,000 12-month catalog buyers, which are a fit within Potpourri’s target audience of middle to older consumers with middle- to upper- level household income. But Country Store’s customers are more rural, slightly older and have a lower income, Fleischmann says.

A spring Country Store catalog is scheduled to mail in early January, Fleischmann says. Potpourri won’t plan the title’s full 2011 circulation “until we have our own results in,” he says.

Founded in 1963 with a single catalog, Potpourri Group has grown to $250 million in 2009 by adding new titles via internal growth and acquisitions. In addition to its namesake title and the Country Store, the Chelmsford, MA-based company includes Catalog Favorites, NorthStyle, Expressions, The Stitchery, Nature’s Jewelry, The Pyramid Collection, Back in the Saddle, Serengeti, Whatever Works and Young Explorers.

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