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Tesco targets young mothers

Tesco is to woo young mothers with a baby catalogue launched today. In what Tesco claims is the first supermarket mail order catalogue, it will offer maternity clothing and nursery items such as bedding, prams and pushchairs.

Purchases attract bonus points on Tesco's loyalty card. Shoppers can also phone a special number to receive information about pregnancy and the first year of a baby's life.

Tesco's commercial director, Simon Unwins, said the catalogue would be a convenient way to shop with low prices and quality products. He claimed the launch made Tesco "the best place for mums to shop".

Tesco added: "This is a major growth market. We are trying to regain market share we've lost to Mothercare."

Tesco launched its Baby Club in January and claims it has been successful. Members receive information packs and money-off vouchers.

Following the success of Tesco's loyalty card, developed by chief executive Terry Leahy, the company is likely to use the data collected from its loyalty card to target mail shots at customers known to have bought baby items such as nappies.

Though Tesco has been making the running in the grocery battle, it is behind Asda in the clothing market. Asda's George range of clothing has been showing strong sales growth and the company has bold plans to make it the second most popular clothing brand behind Marks & Spencer.

Richard Hyman at retail consultants Verdict Research said: "I think it is probably a good move. Clothing is not a major part of Tesco's offer but this is a good way of developing it."

Direct mail order is becoming increasingly attractive to retailers. The big supermarkets are also experimenting with various methods of home grocery shopping which enable customers to order via phone, fax or the Internet.