Home-shopping retailer Freemans has announced plans to stop printing its catalogue after 118 years, in its journey to “reinvent itself as a digital pureplay”.


Freemans said its website offered 55,000 fashion, home and beauty products in comparison with the “few thousand items” available in the catalogue.

The move will save 650 tonnes of paper, which is equivalent to 11,000 trees every year, according to the retailer. 

Freemans reported today a 13% increase in sales year on year for the six months to June 30, 2023, while its customer base grew by 34% to more than one million customers.

It credited its surge in sales to its ongoing “digital transformation” and said the shift away from its catalogue business came from customers taking inspiration from their phones and social media rather than a physical copy of the catalogue. The retailer launched its repositioning to “digital department store” in 2020.

Chief executive Ann Steer said: “The Freemans catalogue was a national institution and one of the most successful retails sales tool the UK has ever seen. It was the UK’s biggest and the best store catalogues and has served generations of families.

“However, we need to move with the times in response to how customers are shopping these days. The transition to digital means we can serve today’s families with even more choice of great value items, all at the swipe of a phone screen.

“It’s significant step towards Freemans becoming the digital department store of choice for customer both new and old. We have made huge in-roads over the past three years and it’s paying dividends as shoppers with Freemans.com continue to grow.

“This is just the start – I promise you, there is loads more to come.”