Fingerhut Mails Home Goods Spin-off

In the four years since it was sold by Federated Department Stores, Fingerhut has quietly but steadily rebuilt its business, to the point that it has mailed its first spin-off specialty title under its current ownership and is readying a second.

In September the Minnetonka, MN-based marketer introduced Today’s Home, a 96-page, 8” x 10” home furnishings and housewares catalog. The book mailed to 500,000 customers and prospects, with the latter accounting for about 20% of the circulation.

Fingerhut waited until it had a large-enough customer base to justify the specialized catalog, says chief marketing officer Bob Safford. “Our size is at a point where we’re able to do specialty books,” he says. According to its datacard Fingerhut has a house file of more than 1,194,000 names, including more than 931,000 12-month buyers.

With the new catalog, Fingerhut has expanded the number of home decor and housewares items it sells, with new products accounting for 35%-40% of the merchandise mix, says John Damrow, executive vice president of merchandising. New products generally account for only 20% of the general merchandise catalog’s mix.

So far response has been close to projections, Safford says, and the average order value has exceeded expectations. Fingerhut plans to mail Today’s Home four times a year, with two drops each in the spring and the fall.

As for its second specialty book, it’s a gifts catalog, which the company intends to mail this month.

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