Pedestrians pass in front of a Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) store in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

H&M Stops the Presses, Shreds its Print Catalog After 39 Years

(Bloomberg) -- 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 catalog 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 catalog," H&M said in a statement posted on its website.

While H&M’s catalog 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 catalogs in favor of more nimble digital versions. Germany’s Otto, once the world’s largest mail-order house, printed its last physical catalog at the end of 2018 after 69 years in existence. Lingerie company Victoria’s Secret also discontinued its print catalog 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 catalog will also contribute to cutting back on raw materials. At its peak, the catalog was distributed in 18 markets.

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