Circular Inflection Point

In March, WSJ had an article outlining a drop in circular spend in 2014 of just over 6%. Fast forward to August and it seems we may have hit an inflection point for several key retailers:

Wal-Mart published half as many circulars in June, compared with the same month last year, according to Molly Blakeman, a company spokeswoman. For the three months to July 31, Wal-Mart reduced its circular count to four pieces from 20 a year ago, Greg Foran, Wal-Mart’s U.S. chief, said on Tuesday in remarks discussing the company’s earnings.

Kohl’s distributed 19 circulars from June 1 through Aug. 14, compared with 27 circulars in the same period a year ago, according to Market Track. The total number of pages Kohl’s circulated declined nearly 27%. At Sears, total pages were down 44% for this period. A Sears’s spokesman declined to comment.

Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and Sears were among 14 large retailers whose circular distribution was tracked by Market Track. All told, the number of circulars fell 24%, while the number of pages mailed decreased 27%.

We are far from the point of the death of circulars but we likely are at an inflection point. The culprit? Digital..but even more so, direct mail.