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Littlewoods catalogue killed off by online shopping

12 May 2015 - 09:41 by Sarah Collinson

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Shop Direct, the company which is responsible for a number of major retail brands in the UK, has announced that it will stop producing the famous Littlewoods catalogue after over eight decades, as a result of the rise of safe shopping online.

Ninety per cent of all sales made through the Littlewoods brand now originate online, which means that the physical catalogue has been rendered redundant, according to Retail Week.

At the peak of the Littlewoods catalogue’s success, it was being sent out to 25 million households across the UK. And even as recently as 2010 it was still a fixture in five million homes, but has been gradually winding down since more customers are buying online.

The last catalogue published by Littlewoods was sent to only 300,000 people, showing just how quickly the market for this type of retail platform has evaporated.

Catalogues were effectively a precursor of shopping online, since they allowed people to browse products from the comfort of their own home and then place orders, without having to visit a store.

However, a paper catalogue cannot hope to achieve the same breadth of product offerings or delivery options as an e-commerce site and keeping track of orders is much easier online. Hence the justification for the impending demise of the Littlewoods catalogue.

Shop Direct spokesperson, Alex Baldock, explained that a Littlewoods brochure featuring a small selection of major products will still be dispatched to customers, but that the catalogue was being axed, as part of a big step to revise the way the brand operates.

The diminishing catalogue market and the shift to online shopping is just part of the story of UK retail at the moment, but the end of this 80 year old publication will still be marked by many.