PI 400 — Catalog Printing – Roller Coaster Ride

BY CAROLINE MILLER

In August, catalog printers were crossing their fingers. The long-awaited holiday season was just around the corner. It’s a time when most catalog printers see an increase of both page counts and quantity orders. And an increase is just what printers needed after a lackluster year.

Top 10 — Catalog Printers
  Company Segment
Sales
(millions)
Total
Sales
(millions)
1 Quebecor World
Montreal
$1,105 $6,500
2 Quad/Graphics
Pewaukee, WI
$900 $1,800
3 R.R. Donnelley & Sons
Chicago
$840 $5,254
4 Banta Corp.
Menasha, WI
$246 $1,538
5 Arandell Corp.
Menomonee Falls, WI
$196 $213
6 Perry Judd’s Inc.
Waterloo, WI
$102 $343
7 Spencer Press
Wells, ME
$94 $104
8 Continental Web Press
Itasca, IL
$73 $121
9 Consolidated Graphics
Houston
$68 $683
10 Von Hoffmann Corp.
Saint Louis
$64 $425
Sales figures are based on above printers’
self-reported total and market segment breakdowns.

At the time, early signs were beginning to indicate that catalog production would indeed increase during the coming fall. It was a hopeful and much needed sign for a market segment that, in response to a slumping economy, had remained flat throughout the summer.

But everything changed on September 11, with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

For Brown Printing, the tragedy caused several of its clients to delay drop dates and/or not drop at all to affected ZIP codes. “This created a basic challenge, as unexpected withholding of catalogs from the mail stream is not part of our normal planning. In several instances, manufacturing schedules had to be adjusted quickly,” reports William Traub, vice president of marketing for Brown Printing.

And Brown was not alone in its effort to deal with unfolding events.

In the days after the attack, Arandell Corp. also had to contend with the new uncertainty in the marketplace. “All previous marketing, design, production, mailing and list strategies were reconsidered, revised, canceled or a combination of all,” says Arandell CEO Donald Treis.

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