The New York Times

25 January 2015

“J.C. Penney is making a big statement,” said Bruce Cohen, partner leading the Retail Private Equity and Strategy Practice at Kurt Salmon, speaking with The New York Times on the company’s move to bring back the print catalog. “It’s a pronouncement in favor of what all retailers are recognizing—that there are moments when people want to slow down, and there’s still an important place for the catalog,” says Cohen. The recent resurgence in direct mail may be explained by a better understanding of the catalog’s power to drive sales, Mr. Cohen said. He pointed to Lands’ End as an early example. In 2000, that retailer reduced the number of catalogs it sent consumers. It experienced a $100 million drop in sales as a result, according to research by Kurt Salmon. Lands’ End later added a pop-up survey to its website and found that 75% of customers who were making purchases had first reviewed the catalog. “Sometimes the only way to realize how important the catalog is, is to take it away,” Mr. Cohen said.

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