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The Argos Catalogue is No More

2020 has claimed another beloved victim: the Laminated Book of Dreams, aka the Argos catalogue.

Like Newsround, the home buying bible lasted almost 50 years, but could not survive this Hell Year.

Admittedly, Argos’s decision to stop printing the catalogue was pretty inevitable and would have happened with or without coronavirus, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the need to rapidly cut costs while shops sat empty accelerated its demise.

Launched in 1973, the Argos catalogue used to be like a paper website before online shopping was a thing. More than a billion of them have been printed, and in better times it was the most-printed publication in Europe (!), and in more UK homes than any other book except the Bible.

Mark Given, chief marketing officer at Sainsbury’s – which most people don’t seem to realise actually owns Argos – comments while wiping a tear from the laminated in-store copy:

“Over the decades the Argos catalogue has charted the nation’s changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices.

Just as our customers’ tastes have changed over the years, so have their shopping habits. We are seeing an increasing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers. Closing the book on the catalogue will help us focus on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

In other words, “we were printing 3 million of these things” (down from 10 million in the Before Times) “but you fucks were just using the website. Now look what you’ve done.”

(Admittedly, we may be getting a little emotional here).

The only small bit of good news is that the Christmas Gift Guide will still be printed and available in Argos stores.

If you’d like to reminisce over the glory days of the Argos catalogue and its many treasures, there’s an incredible archive of vintage editions over at Retromash. [The Guardian]

Main image: Retromash

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