Editorial: Some Good News
Not that catalogs will be going away any time soon, as companies use a combination of online and offline techniques to drive traffic to the Web. Still most popular -- at 58 percent -- is direct mail, Wientzen said.
This year's much-diminished-though-worthwhile net.marketing show had one-third the exhibitors as a year ago, but it remained busy. Organizers used the smaller venue, the New York Hilton & Towers, to their advantage. Sessions were overflowing. Floor traffic was brisk the first day, though it dropped off the second. It will be some time before we return to the attendance numbers of two, three years ago -- f ever -- so perhaps it's time to redefine how we look at industry conferences. It may be a cliché, but the line, "It's the quality, not the quantity," certainly rang true for many exhibitors who found that those walking through wanted to get down to business.
Fingerhut: R.I.P. for Now
Sad to write those words, but as predicted in this space a week ago Fingerhut's writing was on the wall. It's doubtful that Federated Department Stores had any intention of selling the catalog as a whole enterprise. Federated paid $1.7 billion for Fingerhut three years ago, then watched it lose $1 billion because of bad management, the slowing economy and credit write-downs. That's a lot of money down the drain. Somehow Fingerhut's pieces are worth more separately, as Federated expects to bring in $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion by selling its call centers, warehouses and the still-functioning catalogs Figi's, Arizona Mail Order and Popular Club.
Despite all this, somehow I don't believe the Fingerhut name will be gone forever.