Crossing Pointe: Blair’s Investment Takes Off
Not many start-up catalogs can boast annual sales de-mand of more than $50 million, a one-year housefile-growth rate of a whopping 126 percent, and more than 300,000 12-month buyers. But that’s just what Crossing Pointe, the newest division of Blair Corp., has so far achieved during its first three and a half years in operation.
Crossing Pointe’s mission has been to bring younger, more affluent customers to its 94-year-old parent company, Warren, PA-based Blair Corp. Officials at Blair, a veritable stalwart in the direct mail industry and the eighth largest consumer apparel cataloger in the United States, wanted to broaden their customer base, and they decided that “down-aging” their file was in order.
Indeed, the average age of Blair’s female-apparel customer is 64, and a company can target an aging population for only so long before ... well, let’s talk brass tacks ... more and more of its most loyal customers head to that great shopping center in the sky.
“Blair needed to attract not just new customers, but a whole other generation,” says Lewis Shapiro, vice president and general manager of Crossing Pointe and a veteran merchant of women’s apparel. “So Blair created a brand-new business, Crossing Pointe, to accomplish that.”
And did they ever. Crossing Pointe’s average customer age is 48, and the catalog already is well-entrenched as a direct marketer of women’s apparel and home goods to the massive baby boomer generation with its 37 million female consumers. Already, the catalog division has become a significant growth initiative for Blair, and has increased its annual percentage of corporate revenue each year, says Shapiro.
How did Shapiro and Blair President and CEO John Zawacki achieve impressive results in a relatively short period of time — and during an economic downturn, no less? Moreover, what new tricks is this hip, young catalog teaching its 94-year-old parent? And how are Blair’s solid marketplace reputation and vendor relationships helping its youngster expertly navigate the learning curve?