IT has been a regular retail feature for nearly 50 years, but Argos has now announced that its catalogue is coming to an end.

It’s historic?

Argos has published the bumper catalogue twice a year since the store was formed in 1973, with a spring/summer edition released in January and an autumn/winter edition traditionally published in July.

It was a ‘must-have’ item in itself?

At its peak, the Argos catalogue was Europe’s most widely printed publication, found in three quarters of homes in the UK. And over nearly 50 years, one billion copies have been printed.


Comedian Bill Bailey described the catalogue as “the laminated book of dreams”, saying: “You know why it’s laminated, don’t you? To catch the tears of joy. There are so many beautiful things.”

They are retail history books?

Now one of Britain's biggest general merchandise retailers, its products were always diverse and remain so, selling everything from technology to toys and from garden furniture to jewellery, and looking back at old editions offers a snapshot of a bygone era, showing the must-have items of the day and the general look of homes and fashion.

The first issue?

The inaugural catalogue introduced "a new system of shopping", advising that if you find what you want in its pages, you go to the store, "fill out a simple order form and while you are paying your bill at the cash desk your order will be handed to you", all in about "three to five minutes”.

Its products included?

Hostess trolleys, cigarette lighters, floral bedspreads, projectors and trumpets, as well as ‘pouffes’, dinghies, record players and prams.

Famous faces?

Among those who have graced the catalogue’s pages through the years are Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, This Morning's Holly Willoughby and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who advertised a “bicep cruncher” in one issue.

In the last edition?

From about 10 million copies being printed per year, the figure fell to three million in January and now no more take home editions will be made. 

But Argos has been doing well?

Now a subsidiary of Sainsbury’s, Argos sales rose by 10.7% as it was boosted by a 78% jump in home delivery sales during lockdown, while click-and-collect sales jumped by 53% for the past quarter, but employees were told that times have changed. Simon Roberts, chief executive of Argos’ parent company Sainsbury’s, said: “As most customers are now browsing and ordering online, we have decided that the time is right to stop printing the Argos catalogue. Removing the printed catalogue helps us to flex our range and offers and to be more competitive on price.”

Festive news?

Argos said some branches will keep laminated versions of the catalogue until January, when digital screens are set to be installed in every branch across the UK, but in a spot of good news for retro fans, hard copies of Argos’ Christmas gift guide will continue to be printed.