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October 27, 2020

Publishing News

The Atlantic Earns Wins Triple Recognition In Adweek's New Publishing Hot List
Adweek's 2020 Publishing Hot List has named The Atlantic as Magazine of the Year, its EIC, Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor of the Year, and its website Website of the Year. Excerpt: "With its remarkable journalism, The Atlantic grew its subscriber base in a single year nearly three times what the periodical had projected to reach in two years. In the pandemic’s first two months, it added 70,000 subscribers, reached more than 200,000 subscriptions by June and now has 650,000 total subscribers. With coverage that ranged from how to stop a civil war at the beginning of the year to its own Covid-19 tracking project, The Atlantic has remained a clear, concise and accurate voice providing context and perspective while navigating a tumultuous year." Goldberg has "led by example, continuing to write thoughtful, provoking stories that break national news, even as he smoothly manages the newsroom during these chaotic times." Hottest Magazine Cover is Kadir Nelson's "Say Their Names" for The New Yorker (shown). Publishing Executives of the Year: the founders of Substack, Hamish McKenzie, Chris Best and Jairaj Sethi. Hottest Magazine Design/Photography: InStyle. Hottest in Celebrity/Entertainment: People. Hottest in Food: Allrecipes. Hottest in Sports: The Athletic. Hottest Conversation Starter: O, The Oprah Magazine. Hottest in Business News: Wall St. Journal. Hottest in Health: New York Times. Hottest Story of the Year: panemic coverage.

B&N, Former CEO Abruptly End Litigation
PW: "Just days ahead of a scheduled post-discovery conference, Barnes & Noble and former CEO Demos Parneros have ended their litigation over Parneros's 2018 firing. In a short Oct. 26 stipulation and order, both parties have agreed to drop their claims against the other—with prejudice—and have agreed to cover their own costs. Attorneys for Parneros declined to comment and a B&N spokesperson said the retailer had no comment. The abrupt end to the case comes after B&N attorneys in September succeeded in knocking out Parneros's claim of defamation — the most serious and potentially costly claim against the company — via summary judgment. But in her mixed decision, judge Mary Kay Vyskocil ruled that Parneros's claim for a breach of the covenant of good faith could go to trial, along with a claim for breach of contract. In a surprise move, Parneros was fired on July 3, 2018, with a short B&N press release alluding only to violations of company policy. In response, he filed a bombshell breach of contract and defamation suit on Aug. 28, which alleged that B&N founder Len Riggio, irate over the collapse of a potential sale of the company, engineered Parneros’ firing on false pretenses so he could retake control of the company. B&N responded with a countersuit, which accused Parneros of harassing a female employee, bullying a fellow executive, and alleged that the former CEO intentionally sabotaged a potential sale in June of 2018. In 2019, B&N was eventually sold to Elliot Management. While many observers expected the litigation to be settled ahead of a trial, the sudden—and quiet—end to the litigation leaves Parneros's future employment prospects in question. In previous filings, Parneros had suggested that the sexual harassment accusation against him (which he strongly denies) has left the longtime executive virtually unemployable."

Artists Design 'I Voted' Stickers for New York Mag Collector's Edition
Fashion Weekly Daily: This week's issue of New York Magazine will see 48 artists putting their own spin on the “I Voted” sticker. As millions of American citizens are voting by mail this year, they won’t get the symbolic sticker on Election Day—but the publication is ensuring that people can still share their commitment to their civic duty loud and clear. Artists including Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Amy Sherald, Barbara Kruger, Lorna Simpson, Baron Von Fancy, and Marilyn Minter were tasked with re-creating the sticker. Many of whom added a statement about why this project spoke volumes to them, such as New Jersey-native KAWS (aka Bryan Donnelly) who said: “2020 has been full of tragedy and loss. We need to push for change and hold onto hope especially when the system works against us. Vote.” The project, available on newsstands as of Oct. 26, will be divided into four covers. Each cover will show an image of 12 stickers, with a corresponding sheet of usable stickers inside. As part of the initiative, which was conducted in collaboration with the nonpartisan voting organization, some 500,000 stickers will also be available for free at selected bookstores, museums and retailers across the U.S. (Retailers include Crate and Barrel, CB2, Warby Parker, and EHE Health, who are supporting the project’s printing costs)...

Meredith's Life Taps Evolution USA for Licensing, Brand Management
Release: Meredith Corp.'s Life brand and Picture Collection have tapped Evolution USA as their licensing and brand management agency in North America, Australia and New Zealand. Evolution will seek new licensing and brand expansion opportunities for Life and its photo archive in a variety of product classifications and consumer experiences, including apparel, accessories, home furnishings, housewares, gifts and collectibles, food and beverage, stationery and paper goods, brand and artist collaborations, hospitality, location-based entertainment experiences, gaming, and promotions. 

Playgirl Reboots as Feminist Magazine
WWD: "Playgirl Magazine relaunched in print on Monday, looking very different from its last issue in 2015, when it featured “campus hunks of Fort Lauderdale” — four men flexing in their swimming trunks in between several plastic-looking trees and what appears to be a hot tub filled with an odd shade of green water. This time, the cover star is not a man, but a pregnant Chloë Sevigny, expertly shot by Mario Sorrenti against a backdrop of lush mint green hues and not a plastic tree in sight. Above her is the caption “we’ll take it from here""...

Sheryl Sandberg Talks to New Meredith Women's Resource Group
People: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg "spoke about the new challenges and stressors working women are facing amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with Triggs during the virtual launch event for #StraightTalk, a new interview series organized by the employee resource group Women @ Meredith. One in four women are contemplating downshifting or leaving the workforce, and among mothers who reported thinking of those options, a majority cite childcare responsibilities as the primary reason, according to this year’s annual Women in the Workplace report from Sandberg’s Lean In and McKinsey & Co. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Sandberg said, many women worked a "double shift" — first at work and then another while attending to their family's needs at home. Now, while working from home, balancing their kids' online classes, caring for sick relatives and doing housework, they're working a "double double shift,” Sandberg said. The report found that the average woman is doing about 70 hours of housework and childcare per week, while the average man completes 50 hours of the same work"...


Retail News

Amazon Prime U.S. Members Estimated at 126M
DigitalCommerce360: " Inc. has 126M members in its Prime loyalty program in the U.S. as of September, according to a new estimate from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Prime members account for roughly 65% of Amazon shoppers in the most recent quarter, according to CIRP, which based its findings on a survey of 500 U.S. consumers who made a purchase on between July and September. Amazon does not disclose how many Prime members it has by country; however, in January, it said it had more than 150M Prime members globally"...

Walmart CEO: Pantry Loading Is Back
PG: "Another wave of pantry loading is underway as COVID-19 infections surge across the country.That's what Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told the audience at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit on Monday, Oct. 26.“Things are getting better, but we have a ways to go to recover. It will be choppy for months to come as we all deal with the volatility and as things change,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said of out-of-stocks. “Today, there has been some leveling out, but with the case counts coming back up, there are some areas we see stock-up behavior again locally." The U.S. has hit a new high in the number of daily COVID-19 infections, according to an analysis done by Time. It has surpassed the peak reached in mid-July. More than half of Americans said that they're stockpiling groceries or plan to stockpile over worries about supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 surges and political unrest amid the presidential election. According to an October report from market research firm Sports and Leisure Research Group, roughly 52% of Americans plan to stockpile this fall. Of those who are stockpiling, the majority are concerned about an increase in infection rates, but a smaller share of people said that they're worried about unrest surrounding the election next month"...

Kroger Details Restock Kroger Successes
PG: "The Kroger Co. said that its Restock Kroger transformation program is providing rewards to investors and has helped to position the company for success during the pandemic -- a time during which digital sales have soared. The company told investors on Tuesday, Oct. 27 that the program, launched three years ago, is delivering shareholder return of 8% to 11% as the program continues to create value for customers, associates and other stakeholders. "Our associates remain relentlessly focused on our customers, who are at the center of everything we do," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Our customer obsession led us to make several strategic decisions three years ago to reinvent our business model to better serve our customers. We believed customers would continue to move to a seamless shopping platform that combined the best of physical and digital experiences.” Such choices, he said, have helped Kroger to more effectively respond to the challenges of the pandemic. More broadly, the Restock Kroger program has led to significant savings, McMullen noted. "Through the Restock Kroger framework and intensity around operational excellence, we are achieving cost savings of over $1 billion each year and are investing savings back into the business, with an emphasis on the customer and associate experience,” he said. “We are improving the customer experience by widening and deepening our competitive moats that include fresh, seamless, personalization and Our Brands. These moats are strong today and growing in relevance as customers eat more food at home.” McMullen added that digital sales are four times higher than they were in 2017, and he also highlighted efforts focused on pay and sustainability. “We are improving the associate experience by focusing on talent, culture and wage investments,” he said. “We are living our purpose through our commitments to a world with Zero Hunger | Zero Waste and our framework for action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in our business and communities.” He also said that the company's focus on culture and talent led to a 15% reduction in turnover from 2017 to 2019, and that retention rates continue to trend better than the retail industry average"...

Kroger Launches Sweeping Diversity Plan
SN: "The Kroger Co. has unveiled a multi-pronged plan to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace as well as in the thousands of communities served by its supermarkets. Kroger said the Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative focuses on five areas, covering 10 short- and long-term efforts: creating a more inclusive culture, developing diverse talent, advancing diverse partnership, advancing equitable communities, and “deeply listening” and reporting on progress. The nation’s largest supermarket operator, with nearly 2,800 stores under more than 20 retail banners, Kroger said the plan was developed in tandem with associates and leaders across the company"...

Vallarta Supermarkets, Postmates to Deliver Prepared Foods
SN: "Vallarta Supermarkets, one of the largest Latino-owned supermarket chains in California, is now offering home delivery of its La Cocina menu of prepared food through Postmates food delivery service. Sylmar, Calif.-based Vallarta — known locally as the “Home of the Original Carne Asada” — has been testing Postmates delivery service in select regions since June and will now offer it in 32 of its 52 stores, with service to more stores coming by the end of 2020"...

Piggly Wiggly to Offer Digital Advertising Solution
PG: Piggly Wiggly is renewing its partnership with the Mercatus Integrated Commerce platform, and will also launch Mercatus Digital Advertising, becoming one of the first retailers to adopt the new solution announced in July. Piggly Wiggly will be able to offer CPGs a competitive, high-conversion, point-of-purchase digital advertising program. This program also serves to enhance the shopper experience with relevant product advertisements and valuable discoverability opportunities for shoppers"...

Shopify Partners With TikTok
Reuters: "Canadian e-commerce company Shopify said on Tuesday it will partner with TikTok to help its one 1M-plus merchants more easily advertise their products on the video-sharing app, as it looks to grow its customer base. The link-up with Shopify, which provides an e-commerce platform and distribution services to mostly small and medium-sized businesses, comes as a proposal for Walmart Inc to buy a stake in the Chinese-owned firm is stuck in limbo. Shopify said the partnership will allow its merchants to sell product in the form of shoppable video ads, where TikTok users can click on an ad to buy the product. All transactions will happen via Shopify’s site, helping the Toronto-based firm drive sales online, while the two companies “will also collaborate to test new commerce features” over the coming months, it said"...


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