What is the meaning of shop=catalogue?

I noticed that shop=catalogue is in iD presets as “Catalog Shop” but not really documented at wiki.

Is this value in valid use, not covered by other shop types? What is its meaning?

Shops (UK section) could be useful:

Some chains do not easily fit the standard categories, with the result that a variety of different tags have been used. To date contributors have normally tagged Argos stores as shop=catalogue;

Also Retail chains in the United Kingdom:


Argos (77x) (Alternatives: shop=department_store (46x); shop=yes (23x); shop=general (23x); shop=variety_store (13x); shop=supermarket (11x); )


Argos in the UK is an example, though the catalogue (the “laminated book of dreams”) has been replaced by a touchscreen now


So could it be defined by (1) having wide variety of goods not fitting any specific shop category, likely with focus on durable ones that can be stored and wait for a client (2) client likely selecting ordered items in catalogue and then picking them up ?

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Yes, pretty much. They’re now owned by a major supermarket chain (Sainsbury’s) in the UK and many outlets are now within those stores rather than standalone. The amount of stock they hold varies; some seem to be more geared towards the “click and collect” model (buy online, collect from store when doing a grocery shop).

The major difference between them and a department store (or a variety store, like in the UK B&M) is that you don’t get to see the items on shelves before you buy.


I created Tag:shop=catalogue - OpenStreetMap Wiki


Tchibo was also of this form in the UK. The shops were an odd mix of a cafe and shop selling ground coffee and a display of various catalogue goods which could also be ordered at the counter. Tchibo however changed the products on offer every 2-3 weeks (similar to Lidl or Aldi central aisles).

They shut up shop in the UK about 10 years ago, but were certainly still active in Poland 2012-2014. I first came across one of their shops at Stauffacher tram stop in Zurich & couldn’t work out exactly what they did.

The key thing about the catalogue format is that a much broader range of goods could be offered than in an equivalent shop with goods on display. It’s amazing how many more products can be stored in an efficient warehouse format. Combined with this was highly efficient stock replenishment. This made them very suitable formats for smaller shopping centres and towns.

The bulky catalogues were delivered to many addresses. Argos was, maybe still is, very strong in toys and cheap jewellery categories. Other categories are: outdoors (camping, etc), garden & patio furniture, small domestic appliances etc. Overall ranging is closest to the variety store chains (Wilko, B&M) but probably more extensive.

Another chain Index closed some years ago.

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Tangentially related, but apparently an article for Tag:company=catalog was created a month ago. It only has 13 uses currently and it’s not really clear how exactly the tag is any different from this one. So it might worth just deprecating the tag in favor of shop=catalog instead of having it out there needlessly muddying the waters. Although I’m not going to do because I don’t feel like dealing with inevitable drama, but that’s my recommendation since the tag is clearly a useless duplicate of this one.

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https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=Tag:company%3Dcatalog&action=history was created by someone with a reputation for creating “their own personal view” in the OSM wiki (with no thought given to anyone else). They are currently prevented from edited in OSM for a month because of a previous example of this sort of thing. All the data in OSM with this tag was last modified by them.

On e.g. https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/677415519 (allegedly an Amazon Logistics base) I would struggle to see what benefit the “company=catalog” tag adds. It’s not even spelt properly.


There are/were companies who run catalogues: Great Universal Stores (Grattons, Kays) & Freemans in the UK, La Redoubte in France. However, these firms never had a physical shop presence where it would have been applicable. They were mail-order only. These days both mail order, catalogue shops and regular shops nearly all have some kind of multi-channel approach ('phone, online, mail order & physical shops). Those that still retain telephone and post options tend to be targeted at older customers, some examples in the UK: Cotton Traders, Damart, Charles Tyrwhitt.

The “click-and-collect” ones are not much more than something akin to an Amazon/Inpost parcel locker. A real stretch to call them a shop, as I found out to my cost just before Christmas. Definitely worth distinguishing between the two types.

these are shop=outpost (they often carry some meager inventory as decoration/ad/legal loophole).

Yes, I heard that this tag name is poorly fitting (though this time it seem to be not case of germanicosm dialect of English).

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In this case I think an Argos brand parcel locker with collect only (it might do returns, I’d need to check) would be most appropriate.

Thanks. I’ve tweaked slightly and added an image.

Would also just say that similar stores in the UK are Screwfix and Toolstation. In both cases, they are essentially catalogue shops where customers order from an online or physical catalogue and collects their items, rather than selecting them from a shelf. However, these two stores focus on DIY/trade items so instead fall under the shop=doityourself tag.

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Yes, the catalogue model is much more generic, but for our purposes the shop=catalogue places really fit between shop=variety (or sometimes discount) and shop=department_store. They can offer a lot more lines than a conventional variety store, but never have certain categories (clothes is the most prominent, but there are quite a few others) of a department store, so in competitive position are closer to the former. They also tend to have a price proposition, whereas department stores tend to favour a quality proposition.

We could try and introduce tags to represent selling method differences such as these, but they are less easy to survey, whereas a single shop tag tied to a brand is easier for mappers to manage.

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There are/were companies who run catalogues: Great Universal Stores (Grattons, Kays) & Freemans in the UK, La Redoubte in France. However, these firms never had a physical shop presence where it would have been applicable.

same in Germany, some had physical shops though (“Quelle” for example)

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