It’s been a staple of UK retailing for almost 50 years and was the basis for many a child’s Christmas wishlist, but after more than a billion copies, the Argos catalogue will soon be no more.
The encyclopedia-like catalogues, first launched in 1972, will no longer be regularly printed by the end of next January, the company has said.
At its peak the “laminated book of dreams”, as comedian Bill Bailey called it, was Europe’s most widely-printed publication, with only the Bible in more homes across the UK.
More than one billion copies of the plastic-coated bi-annual catalogue were printed during its 48-year run.
Perhaps inevitably, Argos points to online shopping as the reason for its demise.
Clicking, it said, offers “greater convenience” than flicking through its print catalogue and no further take-home editions will be produced. Instead, its products will be only listed and displayed online.
The catalogue has had its celebrity moments over the years, and stars from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tess Daly to Holly Willoughby and Emma Bunton have plugged products in its pages.
Comedian Alan Carr famously picked the Argos catalogue as his book choice on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
“At least ‘there’s pictures,” he said at the time. “I feel it would help me through.”
However, the popularity of the catalogue has been in decline in recent years, as the internet increasingly gains sway over shoppers’ buying habits.
The number of printed copies of each edition has dropped from about 10 million to about three million over the last decade and the most recent one – printed in January before the coronavirus hit – ran to 3.9 million, the Guardian reported.