CHICAGO â€” For decades, the Sears Wish Book was a holiday treat, scrupulously studied, and dog-eared by generations of children hoping for the best on Christmas morning.
Now, 14 years after the retailer shelved the venerable catalog, Sears is reviving the storied holiday tradition as it struggles to attract new shoppers and revive business.
“We all get lots of gifts, but wishes are a special thing,” said Chief Marketing Officer Richard Gerstein. “And I think that’s what this book used to embody, and that’s why we’re bringing it back.”
Unlike its 832-page monstrous predecessor, the updated Wish Book being mailed to shoppers this week is a much trimmer 188 pages.
Over the years, Sears has created smaller toy-only Wish Books through a partnership with EToys.com and publishes periodic mailers that focus on things such as a tools or furniture. But this year’s Wish Book marks the first full-fledged catalog by the retailer since 1993.
Half the catalog will be devoted to toys, while the remainder will focus on other store items ranging from appliance and tools to clothes and jewelry.
The company won’t say how many copies of the Wish Book it’s printing, only that it’s far fewer than the massive distribution decades ago.
Meanwhile, an online version of the Wish Book will also be available on Sears’ Web site, Sears.com.