J.C. Penney Co. is bringing back its catalog after a five year hiatus. In 2010, the struggling department store chain based in Plano, Texas, ceased publishing the hefty catalog for the first time since its launch in 1963. The company said it’s bringing the catalog back as a result of data indicating a significant portion of its online sales came from buyers who saw items they wanted to purchase in print.
The upcoming, 120-page book will include items from the department store’s home department and will ship to consumers in March, the first time since 2010. Though the convenience of technology proves buyers love the idea of e-commerce, many still like looking through catalogs for items like clothing. Ikea also ships out ink and paper catalogs.
Catalog mailings are down from their peaked of 19.6 billion in 2007, the Direct Marketing Association reports. However, mailings increased in 2013 for the first time in six years to 11.9 billion.
Penney CEO Myron Ullman decided to bring back the catalog as part of an endeavor to improve the brand after an overhaul under former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson. It was also Ullman’s decision to end the catalog’s publication in 2010.
“We lost a lot of customers,” Ullman told the Wall Street Journal Monday.
J.C. Penney published three “big books” per year for 47 years, some topping 1,000 pages. The department store also mailed out dozens of smaller catalogs that focused on specific categories like kitchenware, school uniforms or living room accessories.
After competitor Sears ended publication of its main catalog in 1993, J.C. Penney monopolized the realm of catalog retailers in the U.S.
The store stopped mailing out its Big Book in 2009 and ceased publication of its 70 smaller catalogs one year later.
Ullman said the company will focus on home goods, which have historically been the company’s top-selling category. Home goods account for 40 percent of the company’s sales, which topped $11.86 billion during the company’s last full year, which ended on Feb. 1.