Dayton Hudson Acquires Cataloger Rivertown Trading

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Making its first foray into direct marketing, retailer Dayton Hudson Corp., Minneapolis, has acquired St. Paul cataloger Rivertown Trading Co. for a purchase price of $120 million.

"We had been exploring the idea of entering the direct marketing business for some time," said Susan Eich, director of public relations at Dayton Hudson. "Rivertown Trading is a strong business. It's creative, innovative and well-managed. It allows us to develop our direct marketing capabilities."

The retailer originally contacted Rivertown Trading last fall to explore a joint venture and direct mail possibilities, but discussions never progressed past preliminary stages, said Jeff Johnson, director of creative services and spokesman at Rivertown Trading.

However, despite interest in direct marketing, Dayton Hudson has no immediate plans for creating catalogs for any of its retail store chains, which include Target, Mervyn's, Dayton's, Hudson's and Marshall Field's, Eich said. Johnson also noted that possible cross-marketing opportunities are far away.

"For at least the next year, we're told it will be business as usual," he said.

The cataloger, which launched its newest catalog in late March, is looking to its new parent to help fuel its growth.

"We are excited about being a part of a company with the capital to support our growth philosophy," Johnson said. "We've always been a fast growing company."

Rivertown Trading has four catalogs that cater to the gift market: Wireless, which targets fans of public radio; Signals, for fans of public television; Seasons, which offers more sentimental gifts; and Circa, a slightly more upscale catalog of gift collectibles. Its newest catalog, Well & Good, which dropped March 30, expanded the company into the self-purchase market with homeopathic remedies and furniture.

Rivertown Trading has been acquired as a subsidiary and will not move its headquarters or change its workforce. The catalog company employs 400 full-time workers.

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