Argos to stop printing infamous catalogue after nearly 50 years

A move towards online shopping means the Argos catalogues that were once found in three-quarters of UK homes are no longer deemed necessary.

Retail catalogue with sticky notes

Argos will stop printing its catalogue after almost 50 years, as shoppers increasingly prefer online browsing.

Since its launch in 1972, more than 1 billion copies of the bi-annual catalogue have been printed over 93 editions and, in its prime, three-quarters of UK homes owned one. In 2010, the company printed 10 million copies, yet this declined to only 3 million in recent years, with 3.9 million of the latest edition in January before the coronavirus pandemic.

Described as ‘the laminated book of dreams’ by comedian Bill Bailey, and named as fellow comedian Alan Carr’s book of choice on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the Argos catalogue has played a part in many childhood memories.

It has featured the likes of the Spice Girls’ Emma Bunton and Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Other stars to have featured in the retail bible include Tess Daly, Holly Willoughby, Lisa Snowdon and Emma Willis.

Argos stated that online shopping now offers customers ‘greater convenience’, adding that the pandemic has not been responsible for the decision to cease printing.

Mark Given, CMO at Sainsbury’s, which owns Argos, said: “Over the decades the Argos catalogue has charted the nation’s changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices.

“Just as our customers’ tastes have changed over the years, so have their shopping habits. We are seeing an increasing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers. Closing the book on the catalogue will help us focus on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

Argos said it would continue to print the Christmas Gift guide, which will be available in all of its stores towards the end of 2020.

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