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End of an era as Argos stops printing its catalogue after almost 50 years

At its height, the Argos catalogue was Europe’s most widely printed publication.

Argos is to stop publishing its catalogue after almost 50 years.

The bi-annual catalogue – affectionately known as the ‘book of dreams’ to many – launched in 1973, with more than 1 billion copies having been printed. At its height, it was Europe’s most widely printed publication, with only the Bible in more homes across the UK.

It acted as a key marketing tool for toy companies, which would use it to highlight major launches for spring/summer and autumn/winter, also affording exclusive launch windows for a number of big name lines.

Above: Consumers have shifted from flicking through the pages of the iconic Argos catalogue to online browsing, with plenty of ideas for housewares shopping on the Argos site.
Above: Consumers have shifted from flicking through the pages of the iconic Argos catalogue to online browsing, with plenty of ideas for housewares shopping on the Argos site.

However, with consumers’ online shopping habits having been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the retailer has taken the decision to cease publication of the catalogue.

Over the last decade the number of printed copies of each edition has dropped from about 10 million to about 3 million. The most recent one, printed in January before the pandemic hit, ran to 3.9m, reported The Guardian.

Howeve,  Argos will continue to print its Christmas Gift Guide which will still be available in all stores this year.

“Over the decades the Argos catalogue has charted the nation’s changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices,” said Mark Given, chief marketing officer at Sainsbury’s. “Just as our customers’ tastes have changed over the years, so have their shopping habits. We are seeing an increasing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers.

“Closing the book on the catalogue will help us focus on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

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