J.C. Penny's Big Book

Nov. 18, 2009 at 12:57 PM
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PLANO, Texas, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- One of the granddaddies of shopping catalogs, J.C. Penny Co.'s Big Book, is about to retire, the U.S. retailer's marketing department says.

Made obsolete by the Internet, the marketing behemoth that peaked at 1,500 pages in its hey-day has "became a very ineffective way to communicate to our customers," said Mike Boylson, head of marketing for J.C. Penny, based in Plano, Texas.

It will be retired next year, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

Communication aside, the catalog "forced us to bring product in too early and locked in prices. It was an outdated way of shopping and the last big book in America," Boylson said.

While catalog sales -- and sizes -- have shrunk in recent years, J.C. Penny's online sales have soared, reaching $1 billion a year two years ago.

The top year for the catalog was 1999 with about $4 billion in sales. Circulation peaked at 14 million.

A new strategy of smaller catalogs sent to targeted customers makes more sense today, Boylson said.

J.C. Penny also said it would use 30 percent less paper by retiring the Big Book.

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