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Fewer holiday catalogs but still plenty in mail

Associated Press Modified: November 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm •  Published: November 22, 2012

Some catalog companies have gone out of business. Others drastically cut back on the number of catalogs, or reduced the number of pages, or both, said Lois Brayfield, president of J. Schmid & Associates, a Kansas-based catalog marketing specialist.

And the postal service's continuing struggles will likely mean more postage increases. A week ago, the postal service reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion.

The lines have been blurring for years in the multi-channel retailing world.

Most big retailers are active in the three main channels: catalog, online and retail stores. They're scrambling to stay current in the online world as the number of digital devices continues to grow.

Ninety percent of consumers received catalogs and those recipients received three of them a week, on average, a survey by commissioned by the American Catalog Mailers Association last year found.

In Gorham, Falagario gets scores of them, including Cabela's and L.L. Bean. As in the heyday of the J.C. Penney and Sears catalogs, her daughters peruse the catalogs and circle the items that they like in hopes that mom and dad will buy them.

But Falagario doesn't dial the toll-free order numbers, nor does she send in the order forms. She makes all of her catalog purchases online, like a majority of catalog customers.

Falagario said she finds time to thumb through most of the catalogs, even the ones she didn't request. "I would be sad if they stop doing catalogs," she said.