Body Central Adds Catalog Arm

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Young women's clothing retailer Body Central hopes to become catalog central based on the Feb. 1 launch of its first catalog. The Jacksonville, FL, company expects to mail 6 million Body Central books this spring and another 2 million in the fall.


Body Central is a division of Body Shop of America Inc., which operates 160 mall-based retail stores in 19 states under the names Body Shop, Body Central and Kat Man Du. Body Shop of America was previously the Southeastern U.S. sales representative for The Body Shop cosmetics firm from the United Kingdom, which is how it got the name Body Shop.


Body Shop and Body Central stores sell value-priced sportswear, club wear and casual wear for fashion-oriented women around age 21, general merchandise manager Beth Angelo said.


The privately owned Body Shop of America broke into catalogs to try to extend its geographic reach. However, it isn't a neophyte in the catalog arena. Until June 2004, it was cataloger Venus Swimwear's sportswear partner.


"Because we were in business with Venus for five years, we have a good basis of knowledge, so we feel pretty confident [about the new venture]," Angelo said.


Along with getting experience putting together a catalog from its relationship with Venus, Body Shop also gained a copy of its sportswear mailing list, which numbers more than 500,000 names.


Prior to the initial mailing in February, the parent company bolstered its house list through in-store contests as well as giving away gift certificates. It collected 200,000 names this way, Angelo said.


The remainder of the 6 million spring mailings will go to names from the many lists that Body Shop purchased.


The 64-page spring book features about 500 items including shorts, skirts, tops and accessories. Most of the items can be found in Body Shop and Body Central stores as well, and are priced from $5 to $36.


A second spring drop occurred March 1, with a third planned for April 1 and a fourth for May 1. About 25 percent of the merchandise is new for each spring drop, Angelo said.


Concurrent with the February introduction of the book was the relaunch of an e-commerce site, bodyc.com. Prior to the catalog launch, a few items were for sale on the Web site, and it received a few hundred visitors daily. Since putting the site address on all Body Shop and Body Central shopping bags and in the catalog, the Web site now gets thousands of visitors daily and accounts for 50 percent of sales, Angelo said.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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