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January 14, 2021

Publishing News

Penske Lays Off Longtime WWD Fashion Critic
The Cut: "The convulsions of 2020 claimed a number of fashion institutions as we know them — Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, Century 21, the list goes on — and then, just at year’s end, one more: Bridget Foley, the executive editor of Women’s Wear Daily, and a pillar of the paper’s fashion coverage for more than 30 years, was laid off from her position.“It’s a huge part of my life,” Foley told the Cut. “It’s been a privilege to cover this industry through such remarkable times of change. I was privileged as a chronicler, and also as a participant, to be involved at a very heady time in fashion and media.” James Fallon, the editorial director of Fairchild Fashion Media, which includes WWD, did not respond to a request for comment... Foley could be alternatingly imperious and gentle in her fashion-show reviews and her regular column, “Bridget Foley’s Diary.” (Ever the workhorse, Foley had three bylines on on Jan. 10.) She has been a fixture in the industry long enough to nurture design talents now taken as titans. “She is one of but a handful of writers who has watched my career from its infancy,” Michael Kors told the New York Times in 2013""...

Worth Mag Parent Hires Ledbetter as Chief Content Officer
Talkingbiznews: "Longtime journalist James Ledbetter has been hired to be chief content officer of Clarim Media, the parent company of Worth magazine and Techonomy. Ledbetter said that Clarim will continue the fintech newsletter he started last year. “The fact that the leadership at Clarim sees an opportunity to grow FIN as a business was a big reason why I took the position,” he said in a message. Ledbetter added that he’s “planning to help Clarim build out its content and extend the reach of its excellent brands.” Clarim acquired Worth and Techonomy in 2018 for undisclosed amounts and is backed by Jim McCann, founder and chairman of The company will look to acquire additional properties that serve similar audiences with editorial products. Ledbetter was editor in chief of Inc. magazine until late 2019 and was head of content at Sequoia Capital for a year. He joined Inc. in February 2014. Before that, he was with Reuters as opinions editor. Ledbetter has previously been deputy managing editor of and He was the founding editor of Slate’s financial site The Big Money and has published six books, most recently “One Nation Under Gold.”

Connecticut In Antitrust Probe of Amazon Book Biz
Reuters: "Connecticut is investigating Inc for potential anti-competitive behavior in its business selling digital books, the state’s attorney general said on Wednesday. The probe is one of many into the e-commerce platform’s business practices. Amazon is also under investigation by the attorneys general in New York, California and Washington state and the Federal Trade Commission. “Connecticut has an active and ongoing antitrust investigation into Amazon regarding potentially anticompetitive terms in their e-book distribution agreements with certain publishers,” Attorney General William Tong said in a statement to Reuters"...

Twitter CEO: Platforms Are 'Too Powerful'
CNBC: "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday that banning President Donald Trump was the “right decision for Twitter,” but admitted that the internet shouldn’t be controlled by a handful of private companies.In a series of 13 tweets, Dorsey said that online speech resulting in real world harm requires action even if a ban on an account is divisive “and sets a precedent I feel is dangerous.” He wrote that if a company like Twitter makes a decision that people don’t like, they can go elsewhere, creating an inherent check on its power... However, the across-the-board bans of Trump following the Capitol riot raised his level of concern.“This concept was challenged last week when a number of foundational internet tool providers also decided not to host what they found dangerous,” Dorsey wrote. “I do not believe this was coordinated. More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others.""

Steve Forbes on Editor's Controversial Op-Ed
Fox News: "Steve Forbes, chairman and CEO of Forbes Media, denounced blacklists of Trump administration officials in his defense of a controversial op-ed in his magazine threatening companies who hire Trump "fabulists." "Unlike Twitter, media giants, and Big Tech companies, we believe in diversity of opinion," Forbes told "Fox & Friends" Wednesday. Forbes magazine’s chief content officer, Randall Lane, warned companies that may consider hiring Kayleigh McEnany, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and others who worked for the Trump administration. "Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie," Lane wrote in a piece published Thursday. The CEO said his opinion differs from his chief content officer."

Media Buyer Survey: Amazon To Hit 11% Of U.S. Digital Ad Spend By 2022
MediaPost: In a Cowen survey of 52 senior U.S. media buyers, "60% said their ad spending was below normal in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 80% reported still spending below normal levels. About half of those ad buyers suggested normalized spend by mid ’21 and the remainder by the start of 2022. Buyers indicated that Google and Facebook will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future, accounting for a combined 27%, on average, of global digital spend by 2022.However, they also projected that Amazon will gain the most share of digital ad budget share. On average, they projected that Amazon’s share of their U.S. digital ad spend, on a weighted basis, will increase from 7% last year to 11% by 2022. Amazon’s U.S. ad revenue is expected to reach $26.1B this year and $85.2B by 2026.Amazon’s share of global digital ad revenue (excluding China) is projected to rise from 8% in 2020 to 13% in 2026, according to CNBC coverage of the report. The buyers ranked Amazon second on return on investment, after Google search, and cited Amazon positives including high purchase intent and insulation, in comparison with other platforms, from Apple’s upcoming implementation of an opt-in policy for ad tracking."


Retail News

Consumers Rank Amazon #1 Preferred Grocery Source in Dunnhumby Survey
RetailWire: "A new survey finds that has become the preferred source of groceries for the largest number of Americans. The findings, introduced yesterday during a streaming session at the NRF Big Show 2021, were based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. households by Dunnhumby. The research found that Amazon passed the grocers — H-E-B and Trader Joe’s — that topped the list last year. Amazon and Target were called out for making significant year-over-year gains in the annual survey. These were driven by larger numbers of consumers turning to the retailers as sources for contactless grocery services as the novel coronavirus pandemic spread across the country. The customer data science firm also saw some regional grocery chains making significant gains during the pandemic as home-bound consumers sought reliable supplies of groceries with many key categories under pressure as a result of panic buying, particularly at the outset of the pandemic in markets where it spread. The perception of in-stock positions helped smaller chains operating high/low pricing formats in the short-term, although Dunnhumby expects that everyday low price retailers are better positioned for longer term financial success. “COVID has led to record highs and lows in economic metrics, along with huge shifts in where and how consumers shop food retail, changing the competitive trajectories of retailers who were winning and those who were struggling before the pandemic,” said Grant Steadman, president of Dunnhumby’s N.A. practice... The survey’s rankings were based on price, quality, digital, operations, convenience, discounts, rewards and information, and speed. For this year’s research, Dunnhumby said it added a COVID Momentum Metric to its calculations, which enabled it to better assess how changing consumer preferences drove market share gains or losses in 2020. Steadman said, “Amazon accelerated past every other retailer on our COVID Momentum Metric and customer safety ratings, due to its speed to shop and virtual store format.” Amazon, despite its gains, has experienced growing pains as it has transitioned to a greater grocery focus. The retailer faced supply and delivery challenges earlier on in the pandemic and rumblings from stores have indicated tension between shoppers filling online orders and associates that work in those locations."

Dollar General Will Pay Workers to Get Vaccine
WaPo: "Dollar General workers who get the coronavirus vaccine will be rewarded with four hours of pay, the company announced Wednesday, making it one of the first major retailers to incentivize inoculations for its workforce. While such major brands as Walmart and CVS have key roles in the distribution of vaccines, most are encouraging employees to get vaccinated but not mandating it. But as doses become available to front-line workers outside of heath and long-term care, Dollar General wants to remove barriers — including transit and child-care costs — that might prevent its 157,000 employees from receiving the vaccine, the discount retailer said in a news release. On average, Dollar General employees make a base rate of $9.80 an hour, according to PayScale"...

Grocery Delivery Will Stay a 'Splurge' Purchase Post COVID
Grocery Dive: "In a new survey by LendingTree, grocery delivery topped the list of pandemic-era splurges that shoppers say they plan to keep spending money on over the long run. 30% of the more than 1,200 consumers surveyed in December said they had spent money on grocery delivery to help them feel safer during the pandemic, topping a list of options that included high-quality face masks (28%), high-quality vitamins (22%) and a Costco or Sam's Club membership (13%). That surge in popularity may last long after the pandemic, according to the survey, which found that nearly two-thirds of respondents said they plan to continue to spend extra on grocery delivery in the coming years"...

Circle K Owner Couche-Tard Eyes Carrefour Acquisition
SN: "Convenience store retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard, operator of Circle K stores, has begun talks to acquire global food retailer Carrefour Group in a deal estimated at more than US$20B. Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard today confirmed that it has submitted a nonbinding offer to Carrefour for a “friendly combination” at a price of €20 ($24.31 U.S.) per Carrefour share. The announcement came a day after Couche-Tard said it had initiated “exploratory discussions” with Carrefour regarding a “potential friendly transaction""...


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