November 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

J.C. Penney kills its big catalog as more customers shop online

At J.C. Penney Co. Inc., its twice-yearly big-book catalog is out and a stronger focus on e-commerce is in.

At J.C. Penney Co. Inc., its twice-yearly big-book catalog is out and a stronger focus on e-commerce is in.

“Big-book catalogs have become less relevant as customers have embraced shopping online, where they have ready access to our entire assortment at any time on JCP.com,” J.C. Penney chief marketing officer Mike Boylson says.

J.C. Penney will discontinue the hefty catalog-the current version is 824 pages-next year, after publishing it since 1963. Instead, the retailer will invest more in its e-commerce channel and print smaller niche catalogs.

J.C. Penney’s big-book catalog was once the focal point of a print-based direct marketing business that was among the biggest in the retail industry. Along with an established direct marketing infrastructure, the big catalog helped J.C. Penney to make a successful transition to web-based retailing in 1994.

With fewer customers ordering through print catalogs, J.C. Penney will continue to build up its Internet business, which now includes social media and mobile commerce, says CEO Myron Ullman.

“To ensure we are keeping pace with consumers’ changing media habits and continued migration to online versus catalog shopping, we have increased our investments in new technologies, as well as successfully integrated the merchandising and marketing teams serving stores, JCP.com and catalog into one team that is able to consistently and seamlessly serve our customers, no matter how they prefer to shop with us,” Ullman says.

mark@verticalwebmedia.com

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