Feb. 22, 2012

Publishing News

Redesigned Glamour Seeing Newsstand Sales Lift
Early estimate for Glamour’s March redesign debut issue, backed by promotional support, showing retail sales up 8%, reports NY Post. Cover, featuring actress Amanda Seyfried, is first in 14 years to show shoot’s background scenery rather than just neutral background favored by most women’s titles, says EIC Cindi Levine, who promises more “new look” covers, and that title will now stick with celebrity covers (though “celebrities” defined “very broadly”). Post column also has item on Penguin imprint Celebra Books reportedly having won auction for memoir by NY Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (advance estimated to be in mid six figures). 

“The Real Story” on Print Magazine Sales at Retail
Four core facts (and numerous statistics) that add up to an optimistic picture for magazines at retail, from PBAA executive director Lisa Scott and Taunton Press VP, trade sales/PBAA president Jay Annis. 

Conde Nast Aims to Unify Tablet, Mobile Magazine Production
CN content innovation VP Scott Dadich laid out the tech challenges of adapting high-fidelity content to multiple tablet and now mobile screens/devices, and noted that ultimately, magazine design will also evolve into a “hybridization” of print, tablet products. 

Harper’s Bazaar Publisher On What Differentiates the Title
Carole Smith, longtime Elle publisher who moved to Bazaar last summer (both now Hearst-owned), says Bazaar is “Elle all grown up,” and serves more mature women “who sit atop the fashion pyramid” and “come for our fashion but stay for [the] fashionable life” content. Says she “fought” for heavy stock to deliver luxurious, tactile print product. Asked whether Hearst or Conde Nast is better to work for (she did five-month stint with Conde’s Bon Appetit), Smith said Hearst is “the nice company” and Conde is “the mean company.” 

Boosting Print Book Sales with Cheap, Digital Sneak Previews
Minotaur Books, Simon & Schuster among growing number offering 99-cent digital samplings (short stories, etc.) or prequels to build excitement months prior to important print releases.  

Heavy Book-Reading Markets 
The top 10 list of DMAs in terms of numbers of adults reading books two or more times per week, according to GfK MRI, is headed by Burlington VT/Plattsburgh NY. 
Mobile Analytics Firm: Mobile Deserves More Ad Spend

Flurry Analytics, using various data sources, concludes mobile gets just 1% of ad spending but accounts for 23% of time spent per medium, while print gets 29% of spending and accounts for 6% of time spent. 
Online Media Daily 

‘Green’ Certification Launched for Books, Newspapers
Green Press Initiative’s Environmentally Responsible Publisher Certificate, like LEED certification for buildings, consists of tiers, each with own benchmarks. 


Retail News

Economy: Administration to Propose Corporate Tax Overhaul
Obama administration plan to be announced today would lower top income-tax rate for corporations to 28% from 35%, but raise overall tax revenue by eliminating dozens of frequently employed deductions. 

More on Wal-Mart’s Q4, Full Year
Like home-improvement, department-store giants Home Depot, Macy’s, Wal-Mart’s sales gains seem more reflective of gaining (regaining) share than economically driven growth, says WSJ. Further, W-M’s sales gains came at expense of Q4 profit (-15%), margins (down $100M in U.S., -0.4 %age points overall). W-M CFO confirmed plan to use cost cuts/savings to invest in lower, long-term consumer prices. Also said total company estimates show comp-store sales gains and retention of gain in market share, in all major categories except clothing. But stressed lower unemployment hasn’t stopped W-M consumers’ paycheck-to-paycheck spending cycle. 
NY Times
Marketing Daily (“Analysts not excited”)
WSJ (Raymond James cuts W-M from strong buy to market perform) 

B&N: Digital Spend Outweighs Retail Sales Gains; Nook Moves Escalate Battle With Amazon
Barnes & Noble saw best bookstore traffic, sales in five years in its FY Q3 ended January (sales +2%; comp-store sales +2.8%, EBITDA +16.5%). Retail “core” sales (excluding devices) +4.2%; print books +4%. Closed 12 stores in quarter, but no closings planned for 2012; comp-store sales projected to rise 1% in 2012. B&N total sales +5%; online +32%; device, digital content sales strong except for disappointing Nook Simple Touch sales. Digital development costs resulted in $93.7M loss for that business, vs. $50.5M loss in prior Q3. Overall Q3 profit -14%, to $52M, but nine-month net loss at $11.1M vs. $14.5M prior year same period. B&N simultaneously announced launch of Nook tablet with same memory capacity (8GB) and price ($199) as Amazon’s Kindle Fire, plus second price cut in three months on Nook Color e-reader (latest cut is $30, to $169).  

Dollar Tree’s Q4 Profit +16%; Q1 Outlook Less Optimistic
Q4 profit at 187.9M or $1.60 per share, vs. $162.5M or $1.29 per share year-ago. Revenue +13%; comp sales +7.3%. Q1 EPS projection of 91-97 cents and  revenue of $1.65-$1.69B below analysts’ expectations of 98 cents, $1.7B, although full-year projections seem to be in line with analyst expectations..   

Canadian Union Taking on Target
1,500+ UFCW Canada workers at 12 Ontario Zellers have ratified a three-year agreement with Zellers and are “challenging” Target, now owner of much of the Zellers chain, to abide by new agreement in four stores being converted to Targets.  

Interbrand: Wal-Mart, Target Still Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brands
Wal-Mart still far and away #1 on U.S. list, with estimated brand value of $139B (-2% vs. 2011); Target still #2 (+1%, to $23B). Walgreens #6, Sam’s Club #8, Publix #12, Dollar General #14, Costco #15, Whole Foods #38, Dollar Tree #39, Family Dollar #47. 

Loblaw Parent Hires Metro CFO
George Weston Ltd., parent of Loblaw Cos., has hired Richard Dufresne as CFO. Dufresne had been CFO for Montreal-based Metro Inc. for six years.  

Viewpoint: Independents Take Aim at Giant Competitors
SN editor David Orgel summarizes the leverage points vs. Wal-Mart, Dollar General, other giants that independents discussed during NGA Show, including variety, quality of perishables, dedicated associates, community connections. Biggest “don’t”: Getting pulled into pricing battle with the mega-chains. 

Study: Price Increasingly Key in Meat Purchases
Price-per-pound solidified its #1 ranking as most important factor in buying decisions, but total package cost now (for first time) more important than package appearance, new “Power of Meat” study shows. Still, study outlines many opportunities for meat marketing.

Hostess Brands Gets Resistance on Withdrawing from Pension Funds
As part of Chapter 11 reorg, Hostess proposes shedding its union deals and the pension-fund liabilities tied to them. But ConAgra and other fellow participants in the multiemployer pension funds says they would be stuck with $2 billion withdrawal liability, and such a Hostess move could cause domino effect. Union-associated pension funds also urging court to rule against proposal. 

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