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Sak’s Direct Mail Attack

NEW YORK -- Saks Fifth Avenue is pouring lots of energy -- and money -- into its catalogs this fall.<BR><BR>The high-end retailer has put out several glossy books targeting different markets, from the couture customer to the bridge working woman to...

NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue is pouring lots of energy — and money — into its catalogs this fall.

The high-end retailer has put out several glossy books targeting different markets, from the couture customer to the bridge working woman to the male customer.

Saks has allocated 50 percent of its ad and marketing budget to direct mail this fall, up 10 percent from a year ago, said Sheri Wilson-Gray, senior vice president of marketing at Saks. While she declined to divulge how much the store is spending, she said, “For us, we think it’s one of the most efficient vehicles that talk to our customers in categories they’re interested in.”

This month, the store mailed its newest catalog: 50,000 copies of a slick black and white couture book photographed by Patrick Demarchelier here. The catalog features pricey looks from such designers as Bill Blass, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Genny, Issey Miyake, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and Richard Tyler. New to the catalog are John Galliano and Vera Wang. The mailer was sent to the “top 2 percent of our customer base,” said Wilson-Gray. Saks, which introduced a bridge catalog last spring, sent out a 68-page bridge catalog — plus an eight-page Dana Buchman insert — this week to 750,000 customers. It features Helena Christensen on the cover, and contains a six-page section entitled “Schiano Style,” styled and photographed by Marina Schiano.

Another mailer coming from SFA is the new “Absolutes of Style,” which is a product of president Rose Marie Bravo. The four-color eight-page newsletter includes major themes and trends in the current season and short profiles on vendors such as Oscar de la Renta, Wolfgang Joop and Lanvin.