ANCHOR: If you’re nervous about shopping in crowded malls this holiday season, there is another way to go.

ANCHOR: Money and real estate expert Ilyce Glink is here with some suggestions on shopping by catalog or the internet.

  • Good morning.

ILYCE: Although catalog and internet sales dipped big time after September 11th, they have rebounded and for consumers who don’t want to face a crowded mall, using the phone or your fingers could be the way to go.

ILYCE: While strolling around Water Tower Place or the Bloomingdale’s Mall at 900 N. Michigan Avenue, you may have noticed stand-alone stores that you might have thought were just catalog companies. Stores like J. Crew, Williams Sonoma, J.Jill, Victoria’s Secret, and Harry & David are cashing in on a little known secret of catalog retailing according to retail consultant Sid Doolittle – If you offer consumers 3 ways to shop, via catalog, Internet and actual bricks and mortar stores, you will increase your sales. So many catalog companies have opened up shop in malls, while stores like FAO Schwartz and Sharper Image, are sending out catalogs.

ILYCE: If you’re planning on shopping for holiday gifts via catalog or the Internet, experts say you ought to place your orders soon. In the aftermath of September 11th, many catalog companies and retailers cut back or completely cancelled their orders for holiday merchandise. So some big-ticket items might have already sold out.


  • Order early
  • Check out the website for special deals
  • Ask the phone operator for discounts or deals
  • Place orders by December 19 for Xmas delivery
  • Keep return information

ILYCE: Because retailers have limited their inventory for this holiday season, place your order early to make sure you get what you want. Be sure to check out the company’s website for special Internet-only deals, and to get additional information on catalog items. When you call the catalog’s toll-free 800 number to place your order, be sure to ask the phone operator for any deals or discounts that may not have been advertised. If you’re ordering for Christmas delivery, place your order by December 19th at the latest. And finally, keep the return information with the item just in case the recipient wants to make an exchange.

ILYCE: Retailing consultant Sid Doolittle recommends that consumers only shop with companies they know and trust this holiday season. Due to the recession, many retailers have gone out of business. You want to make sure that the company you buy from can provide you goods you’ve paid for.

ANCHORS: What is the current estimate for retail sales this holiday season?

ILYCE: Experts say we’re looking at maybe, if everything goes well, about a 2 percent growth in sales for retailers, but catalog sales are expected to be flat. And it’s very dicey for retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Marshall Field’s, who are having a lot of trouble competing against discount retailers like Walmart, Target and Kohl’s.