More Catalogue Firms in American Express Promotion

NEW YORK - American Express Co., which has been contending with dissension among catalogue companies, said a record 72 mail-order houses will participate in its industry promotion this year.

Called "Catalogue of Catalogues," the perennial promotion gives American Express cardholders the opportunity to order free catalogues from direct marketers. More than two-thirds of the catalogue companies that participated in 1990 will return for this year's effort, American Express said.

The annoucement comes as the New York-based card company deals with grumblings from mail-order companies about the fees they pay to accept American Express. Several of these retailers have said they may test whether sales suffer if they stop taking the card.

In July, American Express said it would stop doing business with Joan Cook Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based catalogue company that had planned such a test. New participants in "Catalogue of Catalogues" include Barnes & Noble, Home Shopping Network, the Sharper Image, Talbot's, and Tiffany & Co.

Visa U.S.A. launched a similar effort, called the Visa Catalog Collection, early this year. Forty mail-order retailers, including Bloomingdale's by Mail, Layne Bryant, and the Sharper Image, are involved in the Visa program, which is its first with the industry.

[Tabular Data Omitted]

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