Inside Line: Dot-coms fuel catalog growth pegged at 10%

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Catalog sales are expected to jump by more than 10% this year to $104.2 billion, said H. Robert Wientzen, president of the Direct Marketing Association. During the DMA's 17th annual Catalog Conference in San Francisco last week, Mr. Wientzen predicted targeted and customized catalogs will hold their own in an Internet world. Many dot-coms have begun mailing traditional catalogs as part of their marketing plans, he noted. According to a recent DMA survey of 142 catalogers, 73% of consumer catalogs that take orders online make a profit on the transactions.

Health Resource, a division of Catalina Marketing that delivers targeted health-related newsletters to consumers via pharmacies, acquired HealthCare Data Corp., a North Kingstown, R.I., company that produces a similar health information product called Medi-Link. The acquisition adds relationships with major drug chains CVS and Eckerd Drug and grocery store chain Albertson's to Health Resource's network. The marriage also expands Health Resource's reach to a total of 20,000 stores. Health Resource, Rochelle Park, N.J., expects to combine the two newsletter networks and deliver 1 billion newsletters a year.

Advo launched a weekend mailing program in its Las Vegas market to better compete with newspaper inserts and give advertisers an opportunity to target consumers with its shared mail package on the weekend. The Windsor, Conn., company will send mailers to about 500,000 households.

Direct Marketing Association acquired the National Federation of Nonprofits, and will create the Nonprofit Federation of the DMA to handle advocacy work for non-profit and fund-raising groups. Many non-profits already are DMA members.

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