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Woolworths becomes latest to join catalogue wars

LONDON - Woolworths is to unveil a product-based catalogue, which will be backed by a television advertising campaign, in an attempt to rival Argos and the newly launched Tesco Direct.

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The Woolworths Big Red Book will feature more than 6,000 products such as: toys; home, electrical and outdoor goods; confectionery; entertainment; and Christmas decorations. It also includes a range of jewellery and watches.

A TV campaign, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, will support the launch next month and 6m copies will be distributed through the retail chain's high street shops.

In addition, there will be an even bigger, laminated Big Red Book available in every Woolworths store and a point of sale suite that explains to customers "Sorry... No shop is big enough for our 1,000s of new products".

The book will serve as a rival to Tesco Direct, a catalogue and internet home shopping service launched last month, and the well-known Argos catalogue.

Stephen Robertson, marketing director at Woolworths, said: "The Big Red Book is the most ambitious marketing project ever undertaken by Woolworths and the latest step in our multi-channel retail drive. It is over five times bigger than last year's Christmas catalogue and a strong competitor to Argos and Tesco Direct."

Dawn Oldham, Woolworths catalogue manager, oversaw the project, while working alongside creative agency Code London and print management company Charterhouse ISP.

Customers can order from the books online, by phone or in-store and either select delivery to their local Woolworths store for free or choose home delivery.

In July, Woolworths introduced its "You collect or we deliver" service, which allows customers to order from the full range online or in-store and have the product delivered to their local store for free.

Woolworths has posted like-for-like sales down 3.5% for the seven weeks to September 16. But the retailer says it expects the situation to improve for the rest of the year.

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