Freemans to axe its designer catalogue

Mail-order company Freemans has discontinued its designer catalogue, The Book, three years after its high-profile launch.

Next month’s edition of the twice-yearly catalogue, which is aimed at well-off working women and features brands such as DKNY, Joseph, Whistles and Betty Jackson, will be the last.

Freemans marketing director Nigel Green says the company has decided to axe The Book because it had failed to recruit enough customers since it was launched in August 1998.

He adds: “It was intended that The Book would become a source of new customer recruitment. In the event, recruitment was more expensive and customer lifetime was no better, so we have decided not to continue with The Book in its current form.”

In a marketing departure for Freemans, The Book was launched in conjunction with IPC’s Marie Claire magazine.

The launch was backed by a high-fashion press campaign through WCRS, featuring images of models reflected in silver cutlery.

It is understood that The Book is being axed as part of a widespread review of Freemans’ direct operations. The review is headed by Green, who joined the company from catalogue company JD Williams in November last year.

Freemans is planning a new venture, which it says will “continue with the essence of The Book”, in spring or summer 2002. The company would not confirm whether the new publication will feature the same brands as The Book.

Freemans was bought from Sears in 1999 by Otto Versand, the world’s largest home-shopping company. German-based Otto Versand also owns the Grattan catalogue.

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