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Sears Brings Back Holiday “Wishbook” In Search Of Nostalgic Customers

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Sears might be selling off brands, taking loans from its CEO, and ending relationships with long-standing partners, but that doesn’t mean it’s giving up just yet. In an apparent effort to strike a nostalgic chord with customers who remember flipping through the Sears catalog and flagging the things they wanted as gifts, the struggling department store chain is resurrecting its once-popular holiday Wish Book.

Sears announced today that “just in time for the start of the holidays” it will bring back a reinvented version of its “definitive holiday gift source,” the Wish Book.

The Wish Book — which launched in 1933 and was scrapped in 2011 — makes its return in both physical and digital form with 120 pages of what Sears deems “top quality” products.

The company says that it decided to bring back the catalog because customers apparently wanted it.

“Our members told us they missed the Wish Book, so we had to bring it back, but in a special way that lets you share more joy wherever you are,” Kelly Cook, chief marketing officer for Sears and Kmart, said in a statement.

The online version of the book allows customers to hover over photos to see product details, create wish lists, and access continually updated prices.

While the online catalog is already available, Sears says that its “best members” will receive a limited edition printed 2017 Wish Book.

Other Shop Your Way members will receive an email inviting them to pick up the book at their local Sears stores, because maybe they’ll stick around and buy something, too.

The Catalog Comeback

Sears isn’t the only retailer looking to capture sales and customers through the lost art of producing catalogs.

In 2015, JCPenney revived its print catalog after realizing people used it to shop online for products. The new version of the catalog was meant to be a “branding tool” that point out products to customers who then visited the retailers’ website to purchase.

Several retailers have latched onto the glossy branded magazine concept, including Restoration Hardware, Land’s End, Anthropology, and others.

In fact, the Direct Marketing Association reported in 2015 that the number of catalogs mailed in the U.S. had actually increased in recent years.

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