Abbey Press to Shutter its Catalog Division
Abbey Press will refocus its mission and close its long-time consumer catalog division by the end of this year. Currently, the St. Meinrad, IN, business is exploring the viability of ventures that would align more closely with its historical roots in printing. An announcement could come within the next year.
The catalog division, begun in the early 1960s, has been struggling for some time, with declining sales for the past five years, according to Saint Meinrad Archabbey business manager John Wilson. “We’ve tried a variety of solutions to keep the catalog business going,” he said, “because we wanted to give it every chance to succeed.”
The Abbey Press catalog sells inspirational and religious gifts, cards, books and other items to Christian families around the world. Products are also marketed through a companion Web site, which will be shut down as well. Last year, seven million catalogs were mailed to consumers.
Several factors have contributed to the division’s dwindling sales in recent years, including a change in customer habits from catalog ordering to online ordering and increased competition within the inspirational gift marketplace.
Abbey Press’ final consumer catalog will mail this fall. This week, nine Abbey Press co-workers involved in the catalog production were notified that they were being laid off. By the end of the year, about 25 employees will be laid off as the catalog’s last orders are filled and shipped.
“It’s difficult to close this division of Abbey Press,” said Wilson, “but it’s even harder to lay off dedicated, hard-working co-workers who have done nothing but work to make the catalog successful.”
The decision to discontinue the division was made after an exhaustive process, said Wilson, including consultation with Abbey Press’ long-standing outside advisory board, an outside consultant and the Benedictine monastic community that owns the Press.