Monday, January 21, 2013

Major management shakeup shows Lucky magazine is not so

No so many years ago (12, actually), Lucky magazine from Condé Nast was considered a brilliant and innovative idea -- a magazine about shopping that treated it as a lifestyle. A friend once said that the magazine was successful out of the gate because it was aimed at young women with some money but not much taste and it stepped in to help them put together (and source) stylish clothing and accessories they could afford. 
Now, according to a story in WWD, there has been a major shakeup that resulted in the departure of the publisher, brought in less than 18 months ago as a turnaround specialist, to be replaced by  "general manager"Gillian Round, who joined the company 11 months ago from the major advertiser Lancôme USA and who has no publishing experience. (The editor of Lucky, Brandon Holley, will be one of the first editors-in-chief at  Condé Nast to report to a business executive.) 
The reasons for the shakeup are stark: Lucky has had two consecutive years of losses and finished 2012 down 20% in pages and lost 15% of its newsstand sales in the first half of the year. 
Rumours swirled that Lucky would go digital only, but that seems unlikely; what seems more likely is for the magazine to be reduced in frequency and that it would become more of a merchandising channel, with an e-commerce component.
Somewhat ironically, Round has been busy recently trying to find a strategy that would allow the re-emergence of the popular magazine Domino, a shelter magazine whose print edition  Condé Nast closed down, to be available only on tablets; a decision about which it is apparently having second thoughts. 
It will be interesting to see what the experience is at LouLou, the Rogers Publishing shopping magazine that was, if not modelled after, surfed into existence in the wake of, Lucky's example. 

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