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CW products catalog to be phased out in move to Web store

Responding to changing consumer shopping habits, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation today announced it will phase out its mail-order catalog next spring and offer a limited selection of products through an online Web store. The Foundation will continue to offer its signature products in its 20 retail stores and through select retailers across the country.

“After extensive analysis and review, and despite the improvements we’ve made over the last year in reducing our catalog-related expenses, the steady decline of the catalog business results in a level of financial risk that is not acceptable, given the Foundation’s other priorities,” said Jim Easton, products division vice president. “The changes that we are making will enable us to focus on our retail and licensing businesses, and reduce our overall cost of operations.”

“Consumers are increasingly going online to search, shop and order merchandise, representing a trend we and other catalog merchants have witnessed in recent years,” said Easton. “We will maintain a limited online Web store, offering a selection of our most popular products to our loyal customers, while eliminating several million dollars per year in paper, printing and postage costs.”

The Web store, www.williamsburgmarketplace.com, will be marketed through e-mail campaigns, in-store promotions and through traffic from www.colonialwilliamsburg.com. The transition to an online Web store, offering limited selections of products, will occur after the spring catalog is mailed in January through April, 2010. The move away from a printed catalog will result in the elimination of 16 positions, 14 of which are currently occupied.

The Colonial Williamsburg Products Program includes 40 licensees producing products under the WILLIAMSBURG and WILLIAMSBURG Reserve brands. Colonial Williamsburg operates 20 retail stores and several Web sites. Sales of WILLIAMSBURG products support the preservation, research and educational programs of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the not-for-profit organization that oversees the restored colonial capital in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at www.history.org.

Media Contact:
Tom Shrout
(757) 220-7265



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