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September 21, 2018

September 21, 2018

Publishing News

Condé Nast Bows Women’s Video Network Anchored By Glamour
Deadline: "The network will feature a pre-release of network programming that will be featured at next spring’s NewFront presentation. Allure, Self and Iris are also included in the new network. The video efforts overall at Condé Nast are in a transitional phase after the exit of Dawn Ostroff. In June, the veteran former TV exec, who served as entertainment president since 2011, announced she was leaving for a senior content role at Spotify. Glamour, whose video franchises include “You Sang My Song,” “In 2 Minutes” and “Evolution,” plan to add five new series by year-end, including one hosted by Kylie Jenner. The brand has posted 230% global growth in views on YouTube this year as of August, boosting subscriptions on YouTube by 154%. 'Condé Nast reaches one out of two millennial women in the United States, and we’ve created a new Women’s Video Network to make it easier for advertisers to leverage our influence with our next gen audience at a critical time in the purchase decision journey,' said Pamela Drucker Mann, chief revenue and marketing officer of Condé Nast. In addition to original series, Glamour plans extensive coverage of its Women of the Year Awards and Summit in November. Last year’s video coverage of the annual event drew 75.6M global total views."

Redesigned Woman's World Now Shares Editor With First For Women
In a long profile piece in Forbes, Tony Silber writes in part: "The two best selling magazines on the American newsstand sell a combined average of 1.2M copies per issue and control an astounding 64% share of women’s-service magazine sales on the newsstand. And now the two magazines, Bauer Media USA’s First for Women and Woman’s World, have a single editor, Carol Brooks, directing both of them." Yesterday, "a new issue of Woman’s World hit the newsstands with a redesigned look and feel [and Reba McEntire on the cover]... Brooks, a 17-year veteran of Bauer, has served as editor-in-chief of First for Women, the second-bestselling newsstand magazine, since 2002. She took on the additional role of editor of Woman’s World, the best-selling magazine, in July, following the retirement of Stephanie Saible, who’d held the post since 1994... The Woman’s World redesign...comes after Bauer conducted focus groups in the South and the Midwest; did quantitative research; implemented a staff reorganization; and held an offsite planning meeting. Perhaps most important, it comes after analysis of what sells with the magazine. 'The newsstand is the best market research you can do,' Brooks says. “We know what topics readers like and what they don’t like. We know what packaging they like and what they don’t. The data we get from the newsstand sales is absolutely authentic. In a focus group people might say, ‘I hate that cover,’ but that cover was actually a super seller. So, we have a healthy skepticism about things she says about what she buys, and we really watch what she actually buys,' Brooks adds. Bauer’s magazines are big sellers, but they’re decidedly low-profile in the New York City world of glossy print magazines... Part of that is the corporate culture of Bauer, a German company focused on the single-copy business. The newsstand remains a primary sales channel for magazines throughout Europe, even as it’s declined to about 5% of total sales in the U.S. Part of it might be Bauer's New Jersey home office, away from the media hothouse of Manhattan. And part of it is the audience. Brooks’ reader is middle American. She has a median age of 54 (shared by both WW and First for Women). She lives primarily in flyover country. She celebrates traditional values, and rebelled when “God Bless America” disappeared from the cover of the magazine for a single week... A significant percentage of readers are African-American. There is some Latina readership and there are a lot of white conservative readers. All of which means that the magazine has to be very diligent about avoiding politics... Bauer makes a science of newsstand sales, and editors are directly responsible for the performance. That might be part of the reason that Brooks was promoted to editorial director of the Bauer Women’s Group. In her tenure, First for Women moved from seventh-best newsstand seller to second best. In the two months she’s been at the helm of WW, the weekly’s sales performance has been tracking upward too. For Brooks, covers in particular are valuable research tools. 'We have lots of different lines on the cover—we read a lot from the cover sales what the consumer is interested in,' she notes. Keto diets, sentimental comeback stories, weight-loss stories, and inspiring anecdotes are especially resonant. All of this is important given the...decline of the newsstand industry due to forces beyond any one publisher’s control. Bauer has not been spared...First for Women sold an average of 581,527 copies per issue in 1H 2018, a 15.5% decline vs. same period in 2017...WW sold an average of 625,054 copies per issue in 1H, down 13.9%. WW's redesign is calibrated to help serve as a bulwark. The brand is amping up its position as a weekly. (It’s the only non-celebrity weekly.) It’s bringing back a slogan, “Make it a Great Week!"... and sharpening its focus on women 40 and over with regular elements such as “comeback” stories, easy work-week dinner suggestions, health, spirituality, and more... [It's adding] humor content, reflecting the kinds of humor women might see on social media. There’s a sense of curating the best of social, digital and print. To that end, Brooks says, she’s introducing well-known bloggers and social-media stars as contributors. 'One thing with Bauer is the focus on 'Stopping them from flipping,' Brooks says. 'We’re constantly thinking about the reader who gets distracted. We try to have super-diverse pages with different entry points that appeal to different kinds of people'... Brooks also has the support of her boss, CEO Steven Kotok, who says, 'Woman’s World and First for Women are #1 and #2 on the newsstand, highly-engaged with readers, and have maintained a healthy business performance through disruptive times. We are building the next phase of Bauer USA around our success in the women’s space. [Earlier this summer Bauer Media USA sold off 13 celebrity and teen brands.] Carol Brooks is taking Woman’s World into the future with the same combination of creativity, reader focus, and empirical rigor that has characterized her 17 years building First for Women into a beloved brand and newsstand powerhouse'"...

Runner's World, Bicycling Moving to Former Bowling Alley
NY Post: "About 75 editorial employees from Runner’s World and Bicycling magazines will be trading in their bucolic suburban office park headquarters for new digs in downtown Easton, Pa.The new offices for the Hearst titles will be in the 20,000-square-foot former Heritage bowling alley across from City Hall, the publisher said Thursday.The move is expected to be completed by the spring. The two titles were the last remaining at the former Rodale HQ in Emmaus, Pa., located across from a small park with running trails and a small pond--roughly 20 miles west of Easton... [After Hearst acquired Rodale in January], several titles, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Prevention, were moved to the Hearst Tower in Manhattan. Organic Life, a pet project of former Rodale chairwoman Maria Rodale, lives on only as a vertical within Hearst’s Good Housekeeping. The Easton HQ will have a high-tech studio for photo shoots and video production, a new Test Zone where visitors could see product tests in action, and easy access to trails along the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, Hearst said. The two magazines are now part of Hearst’s Enthusiast Media Group. Hearst is in the process of converting EMG from a traditional business model with paid subscriptions into a membership model. Under a membership model, Hearst hopes consumers will be willing to pay extra to gain access to everything from deals on gear to events along with the traditional magazine. 'For true enthusiasts, their passion point lies at the center of their lives—it’s not what they do, but who they are—and this new space in the vibrant town of Easton will provide a backdrop that inspires innovation and creativity,” said Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines."

Delish, Krups Partner On Branded Food Truck
MediaPost: "Hearst-owned food brand Delish is partnering with kitchen appliance company Krups on a customized food truck, which will give out free coffee and treats to New Yorkers.The food truck, a product of Krups’ media agency, Wavemaker, will travel around New York City starting today, serving coffee from Krups’ coffee makers and snacks created by the Delish team.Delish and Krups' branded food truck will make stops at three areas in the next three days: 8th and Broadway, Hearst Tower and Union Square Park, from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Free coffee and small bites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. 'We are operating in a competitive marketplace where consumers’ expectations of brands has opened up new avenues to push the boundaries with nontraditional media formats,' said Tara Cioffi, managing partner of client leadership at Wavemaker... Delish’s Instagram account will show viewers when the truck stops at each location.The customized food truck is part of a broader advertising partnership between Krups and several Hearst Digital Media brands, including Delish, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Men's Health, Woman's Day and Women's Health. Hearst is producing custom videos with influencers and personalities in the food industry for Krups, as well as custom recipe videos, Instagram content and more.For example, Delish recipes for “Boozy Java Floats” and “Coffee Glazed Bacon” feature a Krups coffee maker, as does a Good Housekeepingvideofeaturing chef Dina Manganaris"...

High Times Having Trouble Raising IPO Funds
NY Post: "High Times Holding Corp., the media and events company built around the 44-year-old magazine, raised only $5.3M in its initial public offering so far and is still wrestling with a mountain of debt. The money raised is just over the minimum $5M level the SEC required it to reach to continue with its crowdsource-funded IPO--technically known as a Regulation A+ filing. But the ride has been bumpy at best. A last-minute extension enabled the company to escape a default on a $28.5Mn note after it failed to make a $9.7M payment on its principal and interest due Sept. 12. The payment was owed to the foundation that sold the magazine two years ago to L.A.-based Oreva Capital, headed by Adam Levin. On the plus side, the company said this week that more than 6,000 people have purchased stock at $11 a share... Levin, chairman and CEO of High Times, initially said he expected to raise $20M in an IPO launching in June. Instead, regulatory proceedings stalled the IPO until Aug. 13. The current IPO was necessary because the Cayman Islands-based Origo Acquisition Corp.--a special acquisition firm that last year was stalking High Times to take it public--acknowledged in a filing last month that, after a year of delays, it was unable to close its deal on High Times and was instead going to dissolve and return its untapped $28.98M to its original investors. Nasdaq had already moved to delist the shell company. Levin anticipated that IPO effort flopping when he began preparing his own Regulation A+ filing earlier this year. About 45% of the stock sold so far was purchased by entities controlled by Levin. And the company admitted in an SEC filing that, contrary to reports, it decided against allowing purchase of stock with cryptocurrencies. Of the $5.3M raised so far, $2.8M went to pay back loans and $2.4M was to cover operating expenses. The cash-strapped company acknowledges it is a high-risk endeavor. 'The investment is suitable only for persons who can afford to lose their entire investment,' says the offering circular. 'Furthermore, investors must understand that such investment could be illiquid for an indefinite period of time.' The company acknowledged it would need to receive a minimum of $14.7M from the offering--nearly triple the amount it’s raised so far--in order to meet Nasdaq listing requirements. While it extended the stock sale deadline to Oct. 31, it remains a public company technically--but one not yet listed on any exchange."

U.K. Magazine Picks 25 Most Influential People in Publishing
U.K.-based Gentlemen's Journal's picks of the most influential people in magazine, newspaper and digital publishing includes Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg, Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse; Vanessa Kingori, publishing director of British Vogue; Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue; Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist; and Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, among others. 


Retail News

Supervalu Expected to Lay Off 1,500 at Shop 'n Save
PG: "Supervalu will lay off nearly 1,500 associates across 16 of its Shop 'n Save stores if the locations do not sell in the coming months, the St. Louis Post Dispatch has reported. The stores set to close are the only ones not being purchased by St. Louis-based grocer Schnuck Markets, the news outlet said. Earlier this week, Supervalu Inc. said it entered a definitive agreement to sell 19 of its 36 Shop ‘n Save grocery stores, which are mainly located in the St. Louis area, to Schnucks. The sale of stores, 14 of which are in Missouri and five in Illinois, will occur with a staggered close process that is anticipated to wrap up by late next month, subject to customary closing conditions. Union workers at those jobs are being retained by Schnucks.Supervalu this week notified nearly 1,500 employees at unsold stores in Missouri and Illinois of their "imminent termination," the news outlet reported. An additional 50 associates at Shop 'n Save's HQ in Kirkwood, Mo., also were given notices. Supervalu operates a network of 3,606 stores consisting of 3,495 wholesale primary stores operated by customers serviced by the company’s food distribution business and 111 grocery stores under three retail banners in three geographic regions, with about 23,000 employees. The company is No. 18 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the U.S. Schnucks operates 99 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa, employing more than 13,000 associates"...

Amazon, Walmart Fight NJ's Cashless Store Ban
The Guardian: Amazon "has joined other big retailers like Walmart to force a delay in a New Jersey bill that would prohibit retailers in the state from refusing to accept cash, according to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.The bill--which would require all brick-and-mortar stores in the state to accept cash with the exception of transactions made online, by telephone or by mail--was scheduled to advance this week through a state senate finance committee until it got delayed. Legislators aren’t giving up, though. 'We believe that during this particular time, we hope to be able to work with a number of different groups in coming up with various other possible options that will help the unbanked population,” the Democratic state senator Nellie Pou, who chairs the committee and is sponsoring the legislation, told the Inquirer. “If we legislate against it, then that affects their current business. I want to be mindful of how we do something that addresses both sides.' There’s no federal legislation that governs this issue, so its treatment is mostly left up to the states. New Jersey isn’t the first to pursue this type of bill. Massachusetts has long had similar – though infrequently enforced – legislation on its books. Other states put restrictions on the types of cash transactions certain businesses – like auto impound lots – may conduct.But the trend towards cashless stores has been heating up over the past few years"...

Wegmans Approaches 100 Stores
SN: "When Wegmans Food Markets opens its new store this weekend in Lancaster, Pa., the regional supermarket chain will be just two locations shy of the 100-unit mark. The 120,000-sq.-ft. store, at the southwest corner of Harrisburg Pike and Route 30 in Lancaster, is scheduled to open its doors on Sunday, Sept. 23. Anchoring The Crossings at Canestoga Creek, a mixed-use development, the store will be Wegmans’ 18th location in Pennsylvania and 98th overall... That positions Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans to open its 100th store next year. According to the retailer’s website, three stores are due to open in 2019: in Virginia Beach, Va. (at U.S. Route 58 and Independence Boulevard); Raleigh, N.C. (at Wake Forest Road near U.S. Interstate 440); and Brooklyn, N.Y. (at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the first New York City location). Wegmans said late last month that hiring has begun hiring for the 113,000-square-foot Virginia Beach store, slated to open in the spring. The Lancaster store will mark several firsts for Wegmans in Pennsylvania: The Burger Bar, a casual family restaurant that serves burgers, fresh salads, sandwiches, specialty milkshakes, soup and side dishes; The Pizza Shop, with a rotating brick-hearth oven that quick-fires pizza on volcanic stone from Mt. Vesuvius; and a made-to-order salad station"... Article lists a number of other firsts, as well.

UFCW Calls Prospect of 3K AmazonGo Stores 'Existential Threat' to Workers
Fast Company: "When reports emerged earlier this week that Amazon is planning to open up to 3,000 cashierless Amazon Go stores by 2021, supermarket and grocery workers around the country held their breath. After all, developing thousands of new stores that lack human employees will undoubtedly pressure competitors like 7-Eleven, Walmart, and Safeway to cut back on their labor costs by adopting similar technology. Today, the United Food and Commercial Food Workers International Union, representing over 1.2 million supermarket and retail workers in the U.S., struck back at Amazon with a statement, attacking the company as an “existential threat” that is opening the cashierless stores out of greed. Here’s the full text of the statement: "It is time for America’s elected leaders to wake up to the economic threat Amazon poses to our economy. Make no mistake, opening cashierless stores is not about convenience; rather, it is about greed. Jeff Bezos and Amazon and deploying a business model that poses an existential threat to millions of American jobs, and it is time we are honest about the devastating impact this will have on our nation and tens of millions of hard-working American families." A rep for Amazon did not return a request for comment."

Walmart to Bring Virtual Reality Training to All U.S. Stores
PG: "One year after it introduced virtual reality (VR) headsets to upgrade training at Walmart Academies worldwide, the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer is rolling the headsets out to all stores in the U.S., bringing the same level of training to more than 1M associates. Next month, every Walmart supercenter will receive four Oculus Go headsets, and every Neighborhood Market and discount store will receive two. By the year's end, every associate--including floor-level ones interacting the most with customers – will have access to the same training as their managers and department managers do at the Academies, with a combined 17,000 headsets available at Walmart stores nationwide. The technology was piloted at the store level in 10 locations this summer, specifically on the new Pickup Tower units – training the associates on the in-store units before they were even installed"...

Target Tries Stealth Mode for 10% Discount Promo
Minn. Star-Tribune: "Target has a first-of-its-kind special--10% off nearly everything in the store--running this week. But you have to look hard to know it... Target is testing shopper's attention by announcing the sale on page 2 of its weekly circular... Here’s the deal: Get 10 percent off virtually all purchases in one visit to the store through Saturday. Shoppers need a Redcard and the Target app on a smartphone to be eligible. The offer is good only in stores and may be combined with Cartwheel specials and sale prices.Ten percent off may not be a significant discount in a department store, but it’s very rare for a discount store to offer it. In 2016, Target had 15% off specials in store and on its website on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving that is the biggest online shopping day of the year in the U.S. In 2017, Target confined the 15 percent offer to online purchases. But the Sunday to Saturday 10% discount--which is also happening as Target presents a flurry of 20 percent off Cartwheel offers and a $50 discount off membership in its same-day delivery service--is a first, Target spokesman Joe Poulos said.“This promotion will drive more traffic into stores, but it will come at the expense of profit,' said Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with Edward Jones. 'They need to drive more people in stores for full-price items like new brands.' Heyday teen accessories, Wild Fable retro clothing, Made by Design home accessories, Prologue for women and Chrissy Teigen cookware are exclusive lines that have all been recently introduced or soon will be. This week’s promotion is designed to sign up new Redcard credit or debit cardholders. Target’s Redcard penetration is showing signs of weakness.The Minneapolis-based retailer expected that it could get 25 to 30 percent of its shoppers to use the Redcard after its introduction, Yarbrough said, but acceptance dropped to 24 percent in the most recent quarterly report compared to 25% penetration a year ago. As a further incentive to open a Redcard account this week, those who apply and get accepted also receive $30 off a future purchase of $100 or more. Burt Flickinger, an analyst with Strategic Resource Group, said Target is striving to improve price perception and make its charge card a better competitor with Kohl’s cash program, the TJX Rewards card at TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods, Costco, Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond"...

B&R Acquires Heartland Foods Store
SN: "B&R Stores Inc. plans to buy the Heartland Foods supermarket in Beatrice, Neb. Plans call for the acquired store to be converted to a Russ’s Market, one of Lincoln, Neb.-based B&R’s three retail banners. Financial terms of the transaction, expected to close in October, weren’t disclosed... With the acquisition, B&R will have 19 stores overall in Nebraska and Iowa. The company, founded in 1964, currently operates supermarkets under the Russ’s Market (seven stores in Nebraska), Super Saver (nine stores in Nebraska, one in Iowa) and Apple Market (one store in Nebraska) banners. When the sale transaction closes, Heartland Foods will operate five grocery stores and one liquor store in Kansas. The Heartland Foods ownership group has owned the Beatrice store since October 2009"...

Amazon Intros New Echo Line; Facebook to Debut Portal Video-Chat Device
MediaPost: "In a continuing drive to become a core of the connected home, Amazon has extended its Echo line of products to accommodate every room in the house. The new devices announced Thursday range from improvements in current devices to adding its smart agent Alexa to cars, with products falling into one of three categories: new or tuned-up Echo devices, new companion devices and new smart home devices.The smart home devices include a $60 countertop microwave that connects to an Echo device and a $25 smart plug that can be used to control other things, such as lights, fans or coffee makers. Tuned-up devices include the Echo Dot, essentially the miniature version of the Echo, but with a new (needed) speaker for louder and crisper sound. The Dot and the Google Home Mini, both the smaller versions of the larger devices, were hot sellers during the last holiday season, during which time they both were heavily discounted from their $50 price tags. The standard $150 Echo Plus has an upgraded speaker and comes with a built-in Zigbee hub, and the pricier ($230) Echo Show comes with upgraded speaker, 10" display and built-in smart home hub and a future Echo Auto was introduced. Voice is becoming a bigger deal in cars, with high-end carmakers including Mercedes and BMW recently announcing their own in-car voice strategies. Echo companions include a $30 wall clock that connects to an Echo device and an Echo subwoofer that can add bass to music playback on Echo device. Of course, the bass will set consumers back $130, to add bass to an Echo device, which already sounds pretty good without it.The new Echo Input lets consumers add Alexa to existing speakers via audio cable or Bluetooth and the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp will allow consumers to use Alexa to stream music through existing sound systems.Once consumers get used to using a smart speaker at any room in a home, it can be habit-forming enough to want to use it in other rooms and to do other things"... Separately, Facebook plans to unveil its Portal video chat device for the home next week, according to Cheddar (Facebook declined to comment). "The device will function similarly to an Amazon Echo Show with social features and come in two screen sizes, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity... The larger device could be priced around $400, while the smaller one could go for around $300. Facebook originally planned to announce Portal at its annual F8 developer conference in May of this year. But the company’s scandals, including the Cambridge Analytica data breach and the bombshell revelation that Russia used the platform to interfere with the 2016 elections, led executives to shelve the announcement at the last minute. Portal will feature a privacy shutter that can cover the device’s wide-angle video camera, which uses artificial intelligence to recognize people in the frame and follow them as they move throughout a room. The shutter was recently developed in response to worsening public trust in the Facebook brand, an effect employees internally refer to as the 'brand tax.' Aside from its A.I.-powered video chat technology, Portal will feature integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and let users play music, watch videos, see cooking recipes, and get news briefs. Facebook employees have been testing the device in their homes for months and have shown Portal to major retailers."

Giant Eagle Offers 91 Stores for Secure Person-to-Person Transactions
PG: "Giant Eagle Inc. is making it easier for customers in the Northeast to find secure locations for meeting to exchange goods. The Pittsburgh-based retailer is partnering with mobile marketplace OfferUp to give customers who buy or sell items within the company's mobile app the ability to select one of 91 Giant Eagle, Market District and GetGo locations as a designated Community MeetUp Spot, where they can complete transactions in a secure location"...


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