Home Depot folds two titles

Just a year after launching the catalogs, The Home Depot has ceased mailing its upscale furnishings book 10 Crescent Lane and lighting catalog Paces Trading Co. Both 10 Crescent Lane and Paces Trading Co. will live on as part of the Home Depot Direct Website and catalog.

Paces Trading and 10 Crescent Lane debuted in October 2005, with each mailing to 1 million rented names. “Our plan always was to evaluate both catalogs early on to see if they should continue separately or as part of Home Depot Direct,” says spokesperson Jean Osta Niemi. “As we monitored the progress of the direct business, it became apparent that HomeDepot.com and the Home Depot Direct catalogs were drawing the most traffic.”

The mainstay products of the Home Depot stores and Website remain value-priced home maintenance and repair products, appliances, and fixtures. Nonetheless, “we’ve found that the Home Depot customer is still a customer who wants some upscale products,” Niemi says. Rolling 10 Crescent Lane and Paces Trading into the core brand “will expose these offerings to millions of additional customers.”

Ken Lane, founder of Litchfield, CT-based catalog consultancy Hathaway & Lane, sees 10 Crescent Lane and Paces Trading as examples of an established retailer testing the water for higher-end items. And although they survived only one year as stand-alone brands, the catalogs weren’t necessarily failures. “I see these titles as part of an overall strategy to own the channel and to cast a broader product net,” Lane says.

That Home Depot shut the titles after just one year, however, suggests that there were execution issues, he adds. “I think the jury is still out. The marketing and circulation are sound, and the creative improved dramatically since inception,” Lane says. “But the overall product development strategy, which represents half of this, or any other, catalog endeavor suggests that it was a long way from solid.”

Home Depot has not turned its back on specialty print catalogs, Niemi says. The Atlanta-based company does not plan to merge Outdoor Living, an upscale title it launched in March, into the Home Depot Direct catalog. That brand never had a separate e-commerce channel; its products are sold on HomeDepot.com. And the company, which acquired Home Decorators Collection from Knights Direct in April, will continue to run the St. Louis-based decor catalog as a separate entity.