H&M Stops the presses, shreds its Print Catalogue after 39 years

By guest author Anna Molin from Bloomberg

  • Buying online has made printed catalogues largely obsolete
  • “Shopping from a catalogue simply isn’t relevant” anymore

One of the last vestiges of traditional shopping habits is being laid to rest.

Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz AB said it ceased publication of its print catalogue after 39 years with immediate effect. The move follows dwindling interest from customers in flipping through glossy pages of inventory when they can find the latest deals with their mobile phones or computer screens.

“As shopping patterns change and customers nowadays choose to shop online instead we have decided to say goodbye to our catalogue,” H&M said in a statement posted on its website.

While H&M’s catalogue never reached the size of the 300-page tome put out by fellow Swedish retailer Ikea, they were once popular features in many rural homes that lacked nearby H&M stores. Other large retail publishers have also ditched their voluminous print catalogues in favour of more nimble digital versions. Germany’s Otto, once the world’s largest mail-order house, printed its last physical catalogue at the end of 2018 after 69 years in existence. Lingerie company Victoria’s Secret also discontinued its print catalogue three years ago.

The final print editions are published this week in six of H&M’s 72 markets — Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Circulation has decreased in all of these countries, and H&M said abolishing the catalogue will also contribute to cutting back on raw materials. At its peak, the catalogue was distributed in 18 markets.