Sears plans offensive for catalogues

Sears is planning to take on Next Directory with the launch of specialised catalogues for its high-street fashion chains, with women’s fashion retailer Wallis launching the first “specialogue” this summer.

The company says it will include clothes from Wallis in its Freemans catalogue for autumn/ winter.

It will then use Sears’ MarketPulse database system to analyse data and develop a separate catalogue for Wallis. A spokeswoman says: “We are looking at synergies between our mail order business and retail chains.”

The move would pave the way for specialogues from the other high-street fashion chains Richards and Miss Selfridge.

Wallis products will also appear in Freemans One to One catalogue, which was launched last year.

The catalogue allows shoppers to order goods direct, without using an agent.

The company sees mail order sales through agents as a declining market, and plans to double One to One sales over the coming year to 12m.

At Next, the Next Directory catalogue provides nearly a quarter of total retail sales, contributing 125m last year, with profits before tax of 14.8m.

Sears, which includes shoe retail brands Dolcis, Shoe City and Shoe Express, Adams, Olympus Sports, Freemans and Selfridges, is also looking at launching a customer loyalty scheme in the next year.

It has been suggested that the scheme will link all the brands and encourage “cross-shopping”.