SPIEGEL’S CATALOG PLAYS UP LIFESTYLE

Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — Spiegel’s spring-summer 2000 Big Book has undergone a metamorphosis.
The cover — with model Meghan Douglas — reflects a change in Spiegel’s image and product, as it evolves into a more modern purveyor of women’s fashion.
“We’ve reaffirmed our position as a lifestyle resource for the working woman,” said Irene Wilson, vice president, trend forecasting and consumer behavior at Spiegel Inc., the $3 billion catalog and retail company based in Downer’s Grove, Ill.
Wilson said the company has done a lot of research identifying key areas of a woman’s lifestyle, how she wants to live and certain needs she might not have had before. The catalog’s tag line is “Style for Life.” It will be mailed to about 4.5 million customers on Dec. 27.
“For spring 2000, we’ve put together assortments reflecting how she feels about herself, her life and her environment,” said Wilson. The book breaks down into several sections: On the Go, clothes that work in any work, after-work or weekend situation; Paradox, which shows feminine and appropriate clothes for any occasion; In Bloom, which features accessories and apparel in a flowery, outdoor vein, and another part that features relaxed, comfortable clothes that are also fashionable. Most of the products are Spiegel’s private label.
Similar products will also be available on Spiegel’s Web site, although the layouts are different.
Fifty percent of the catalog is devoted to women’s fashion. The rest offers children’s furniture and fixtures, The Living Kitchen, Bed Bath Retreat and Electronics, which includes pagers, fax machines and computers.
As reported, Spiegel, which also owns Eddie Bauer, returned to profitability in the third quarter, ended Oct. 1. Earnings hit $4.2 million, against a loss of $4.2 million the prior year. Revenues climbed 9.7 percent to $706.6 million from $644 million, reflecting a 17 percent jump in catalog sales and a 9 percent gain in retail sales. Sales at the Spiegel catalog surged 25 percent, fueled by a 30 percent increase in catalog business and growth in e-commerce.

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