H&M announced on Thursday that it will be discontinuing its catalog business, according to a company press release. Final catalogs were published the week of April 29.
The catalog originated with the 1980 purchase of mail order business Rowells and is currently published in six of 72 markets.
The company stated that the change is due to environmental efforts and that "shopping from a catalogue simply isn't relevant to today's consumers."
The decision to discontinue catalogs comes at a time when H&M is announcing a flurry of changes, especially when it comes to sustainability. In March, the fast fashion retailer stated that the company will stop placing orders on conventional cashmere in an effort aimed at a more transparent supply chain. At that time, the company revealed that 57% of all materials used are recycled or sustainably sourced — an increase of 35% from the previous year — and reiterated its goal to use only recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
While the company said catalogs don't align with shopping behaviors from today's consumers, there is some indication that they can still work as a shopping channel, specifically during the holiday season. This past November Amazon mailed out its first toy catalog and there is evidence that suggests catalogs can prove to be a more effective marketing tool than email.
"What you're trying to get when you have catalog marketing is a reason to pull consumers into your product selection — and glossy paper tends to be able to do that in a way that an email that's one of 100 doesn't really do," Greg Portell, lead partner in the global consumer and retail practice of A.T. Kearney, said in an interview with Retail Dive at the end of last year.
Yet, H&M now joins a number of retailers who have either ceased catalog production or pulled back. In 2016 Victoria's Secret announced that it was stopping its production, and in August Ikea announced that it would be pulling back on catalogs to support the company's sustainability goals. Calvin Klein in December last year announced that it would stop advertising in print by February, and instead adopt a "digital-first, socially amplified model."