People's Editor: Print Remains Brand's 'Super Successful' Anchor
WWD: Dan Wakeford succeeded longtime People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle nine months ago. "Since he believes it didn’t need any drastic changes, he has been gently putting his own mark on the magazine. There’s been the kindness issue, more mental health coverage and an increase in in-depth features. He’s also been working on how to monetize People in ways other than print, something he’s been at the forefront of since he joined the magazine. After all, while the title still does much better than most in print, with the second-highest audience in the U.S., according to the MPA, it slipped 3.8% in 1H 2019 (and by 0.9% across all platforms)." Q&A excerpts: "The beauty of inheriting a brand like People is that it’s one of America’s favorite brands, so you don’t have to rip it up and start again and create something new... [you] make a few tweaks here... We’ve elevated the design and the photography. I wanted to make it a lot more sophisticated. I really want to provide what you can’t get on the Internet: luscious photography and not stepping on the photography with text. Providing a deeper story--I made the stories longer than they have been in a long time to make sure that we’re providing an escape that you can’t get anywhere else. A big part of what I’ve driven has been positivity. I created a section in the magazine called “Stories That Make You Smile,” which has been super successful. And just realizing that life is hard and particularly in this current political climate you just want to come to the magazine to escape and have a positive uplift. So, everything I’ve done is thinking about positivity, whether it’s the imagery we use, headlines we do, story arcs... [the] kindness issue has got so much reader feedback... We are the authority and our readers trust us. They don’t know if something’s true until it’s in People... We’re also providing things you can’t get on the Internet... we’re providing deep stories and visuals you can’t get anywhere else. We are still committed to magazine craft and we’re the best in the world for that... For me, print is still the anchor of the brand. We make so much money from print and it’s super successful. I probably spend 70% of my time on print, 20% on digital and 10% on television and video and different platforms. Print does take up a lot of my time... We have different readers for all of our platforms and we have different readers within the various areas so the print reader is actually slightly different to the subscriber reader in print. The newsstand reader is probably in their mid-40s and the subscriber reader is a little bit older. The digital reader on average is 40, but that ranges from 13 to 75. And then on Snapchat it’s obviously a very different reader"... Wakeford also talks about getting exclusives, and more.
Maven Overhauls Sports Illustrated
TheStreet: Maven Media Brands Wednesday launched a newly reimagined Sports Illustrated print magazine experience, featuring expanded feature storytelling, dynamic photojournalism and enhanced digital extensions. The first of 22 issues in 2020, the February edition of SI celebrates the Super Bowl and features a special gatefold cover showcasing nine all-time NFL greats who became MVPs in Super Bowls in Miami. The magazine is highlighted by a cover story honoring the Super Bowl’s history with this year’s host city, Miami, and also showcases the first in-depth look at Arch Manning, the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, who some consider the most talented of all Manning quarterbacks. The new magazine also features an enhanced physical design with a larger-sized book, perfect binding and brighter, heavier paper stock that showcases Sports Illustrated’s renowned photography and provides a premium reading experience. The cover of Sports Illustrated’s first monthly issue brings together every living player who has been named MVP of a Miami-based Super Bowl, a list that includes some of the NFL’s most iconic figures: Joe Namath, Chuck Howley, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, John Elway, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. The players were shot exclusively by Sports Illustrated for the magazine’s first non-Swimsuit gatefold cover in seven years... "Readers will see premium content packaged and published to fit the ways a modern audience consumes lean-back print products," said Stephen Cannella, co-editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated... The move to a monthly print schedule is part of a larger strategy for Sports Illustrated. A push to enhance its digital platform is underway as the brand reinforces SI.com’s position as a source for breaking news, analysis, in-depth storytelling and local team coverage through articles, video and audio. On Maven’s platform, SI.com user sessions increased by 32% year over year in December, with more than 6 million new users added through SI’s expanded network of local coverage. Content from SI’s print magazine will be enhanced on digital platforms, with added features and videos like the behind-the-scenes short that accompanies the release of the February issue cover"... SI will also continue to connect audiences to the sports world via branded experiences...
AllRecipes Sees Record Traffic, Reports on Users' Grocery Shopping Habits; Taste of Home Also Sets Digital Records
MediaPost: "Allrecipes finished 2019 with record audience numbers. It enters 2020 with a new logo and plans to expand its editorial offerings with two video series, a podcast and instructional pieces for home cooks. Allrecipes’ audience has expanded across both print and digital. Its website traffic hit an all-time monthly high of 60.3M unique visitors to the site, an 8.5% YoY increase, while its print magazine reported 9.7M readers. The February/March 2020 print issue reported a 26% increase in ad revenue vs. the same 2019 issue. Following this growth, Allrecipes is looking to increase diversity in its coverage and content across digital platforms. Video series “Recipe for Romance” and “Chunks” focus on cooking from a humorous and pop-culture viewpoint, while a new podcast hosted by author-cook Martie Duncan celebrates fellow cooks through conversations with home cooks, celebrities, pros and Allrecipes Allstars. Through a research report titled “Allrecipes 2020: Trends in Home Cooking,” Allrecipes learned that many of its female home cooks are focused on connections around food, resulting in a commitment to adventure and cultural heritage when preparing meals.The report revealed other interesting trends, too. Among the respondents, 74% said they are using more new recipes compared to two years ago, and 47% said they regularly look for new flavors and new foods to try. Respondents also want greater cooking and shopping convenience. 2M Allrecipes readers shopped for groceries on Instacart's site in June 2019, up 14% from June 2018. Also, 23% of Allrecipes’ female readers are interested in pre-ordering groceries online for pick-up or delivery from their local store. “The breadth of our audience and the depth of its engagement with the Allrecipes brand gives us powerful insight into what’s really going on in kitchens across the country,” Catherine Levene, president of Meredith Digital, stated. The publication can "uncover trends as they emerging to create recipes, stories, videos, products, social posts and more that provide the solutions and inspiration home cooks want right now.” Separately, Taste of Home also reports record traffic. In December 2019, the brand had 31.7M unique visitors, +26.6% YoY. The site, which has seen 28 consecutive months of audience growth, saw average monthly uniques rise 23% YoY in December. It also saw its highest page views ever in December (267M). Visitors spent an average of 6.5 minutes per session. The brand says the performance results from engaging content and an emphasis on SEO and videos appearing alongside top-performing recipes.
Cosmo Launches Newsletter Dedicated to Acne
Glossy: "On Sunday, Cosmopolitan launched a weekly newsletter — its first in the beauty category — dedicated to acne. The publisher views email as a way to monetize its beauty coverage and set parent company Hearst on a path toward personalized content. Dubbed “Acne Sucks,” the newsletter consists of interviews with dermatologists, celebrity skin-care secrets, beauty editor hacks and a spotlight on one acne product. Cosmopolitan found through a September 2019 online poll that 99% of its readers experience acne. 74% of its readers are between 18 and 49 years old. Cosmo’s 76M readership across its magazine, digital and social platforms accounts for a third of all beauty spending by women in the U.S. and its beauty readers spend the most time reading acne stories, according to the magazine... "We want to create a robust newsletter experience that is bite-sized content you can consume on your phone. This feels like an innovation in building a deeper relationship with our readers,” said Rosa Heyman, Cosmo’s deputy editor. For now, the newsletter is financially supported through affiliate links, but additional opportunities exist for brand and product sponsorships, embedded ads and cross-promotion of the magazine subscription. Cosmo also offers a daily newsletter and a weekly sex newsletter. Its younger audience is attractive to beauty advertisers, as teen-dedicated magazines like Teen Vogue, Cosmo Girl and Seventeen have either folded or scaled back since the mid-aughts, leaving fewer magazines for the acne-prone. Beauty consists of 63% of Cosmo’s advertising...up from 55% in 2017. [The brand] licensed a collection of four fragrances in July"...
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Flip Flop: Fairway Filed for Chapter 11, Plans to Sell All 14 Stores
SN: "A day after refuting reports of an impending liquidation, Fairway Market said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and aims to sell all of its 14 stores. Fairway announced early Thursday that, as part of the Jan. 23 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the company has entered into a stalking horse asset-purchase deal to sell up to five New York City stores and its distribution center to ShopRite owner-operator Village Super Market for about $70M. New York-based Fairway said it will continue talks to divest the rest of its stores under a court-supervised sale.Fairway now has eight stores in New York City, including five in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn and one in Queens. The upscale grocer also operates two stores in Long Island, N.Y.; one in New York’s Westchester County; two in New Jersey; and one in Connecticut. In addition, the retailer’s website lists four Wine & Spirits stores among its locations, including two outlets in New Jersey and one apiece in New York and Connecticut... Fairway Market CEO Abel Porter said in a statement: "After careful consideration of all alternatives, we have concluded that a court-supervised sale process is the best way to meet our objectives of preserving as many jobs as possible, maximizing value for our stakeholders, and positioning Fairway for long-term success under new ownership." Supporting the planned store sale, an ad hoc group of senior lenders have agreed to provide up to $25M in debtor-in-possession financing, according to Fairway. The company said its stores across the metropolitan New York area will operate as usual during the sale process, with all promotional and customer loyalty programs continuing.Under the stalking horse agreement with Fairway, Village Super Market represents the initial bidder for the stores, in effect setting the low-end price for the court-supervised sale. The Springfield, N.J.-based company said it retain the Fairway store name and concept. Fairway offers a wide selection of fresh, natural and organic products and prepared foods, as well as specialty and gourmet offerings plus a full assortment of conventional groceries. A member of the Wakefern Food Corp. retail cooperative, Village Super Market operates 30 stores under the ShopRite banner in New Jersey, Maryland, New York City and eastern Pennsylvania and three specialty markets under the Gourmet Garage banner in New York City... Yesterday, Fairway denied a New York Post report that the grocer was planning to file for Chapter 7 and move ahead with a liquidation. After Fairway’s statement on Wednesday, another Post article said the grocer declined to elaborate on its plans going forward and “didn’t deny that the company was planning to close stores.” The Post also reported that Village Super Market was a potential suitor for Fairway stores in New York City. Earlier this month, the Post reported that Fairway was planning to file for Chapter 11 after unsuccessful efforts to find a buyer for its stores"...
Hy-Vee Promotes Marshall to Vice Chairman, Baty to Chief Merchandiser
PG: "Hy-Vee has announced a number of changes to its executive team. First, the grocer has elevated Jay Marshall — who has been with the company for 38 years — to vice chairman. In addition to serving in this capacity, he will continue to oversee the operations of Hy-Vee's supply chain and subsidiaries. “While Jay will oversee key areas of our company, he will also work on the larger challenges facing the retail industry today,” said Randy Edeker, chairman, president, and CEO... Most recently, Marshall was EVP, co-COO and president of Hy-Vee subsidiaries and commissaries, a position he was appointed to in 2016. With Marshall's new position, Jeremy Gosch will continue as COO... Additionally, Darren Baty, current Hy-Vee EVP, will take on the role of chief merchandising officer.This change comes on the heels of Brett Bremser's recent retirement after 35 years with the company, starting as a part-time clerk in 1981 before rising through the ranks to various management positions. Craig Clasen, SVP of retail business development, also retired on Jan. 1, although the company didn't address any plans for a replacement... Employee-owned Hy-Vee operates more than 260 retail stores across eight Midwestern states"...
Fresh Market's Online Store Goes Live
SN: "The Fresh Market has launched a new online store in tandem with a new mobile app.The revamped website, at shop.thefreshmarket.com, is designed to make it easier for customers to shop by department as well as by collections, such as new items, easy meals and seasonal offerings, The Fresh Market said yesterday. Shoppers also can plan and build a menu for special meals or save favorite items to a regular shopping list, which can be used in-store or moved into a virtual shopping basket and placed for a delivery order... Another new feature is the ability to filter products by special dietary need... Customers, too, can filter products according to what’s on sale, private-label items or new offerings.Once an online order is placed, an Instacart personal shopper picks and packs the groceries, with home delivery in as soon as an hour. The Fresh Market said selected locations also provide curbside pickup service via Instacart."
Albertsons Taps Frito-Lay Exec for Own Brands Sales, Marketing Post
SN: "PepsiCo’s Alice Chan has joined Albertsons Cos. as VP of Own Brands sales and marketing. Chan, who started at the Boise, Idaho-based grocery retailer this week, will lead development and execution of strategic go-to-market plans for its expanding roster of private brands. Most recently, Chan served as senior director of customer account sales at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America subsidiary, based in Plano, Texas. In that role, she oversaw more than $1.5B in Frito-Lay annual sales across Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas"...
Will Store Closures Worsen in 2020?
RetailWire: "After a record number of retail stores were shuttered in 2019, the question for many entering the new year is whether even more will close this year? More than 9,300 stores turned off their lights last year, according to Coresight Research, and three weeks into 2020, chains including Bed Bath & Beyond, Chico’s, GameStop, Gap, J.C. Penney, Lucky’s Market, Macy’s, Papyrus, Pier 1 Imports and others have announced plans to shutter locations. Cushman & Wakefield has estimated that as many as 12,000 stores may close this year. The expectation that struggling retailers will shutter stores is strong despite denials to the contrary. [The new Fairway Markets example is also noted]… Many industry watchers have long seen the demise of Sears and Kmart stores as a question of when and not if... Even the independent owners of Sears Hometown stores are questioning the long-term viability of their businesses under [owner Edward] Lampert’s leadership... A Wall Street Journal report this week details the problems that Hometown stores have had in getting inventory and complaints from owners’ that their hands are tied when it comes to price matching Sears. Owners claim that, while they are able to match prices on other retailer sites, they are not able to do so when vying for business with their sister retailer.
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: