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August 16, 2017

Publishing News

Creative Directors Weigh in on This September's Fashion Covers
WWD asked a handful of noted creative directors to evaluate the September covers of leading women’s fashion magazines, including Vogue, W (shown), Marie Clair, Town & Country, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour and InStyle. Each is reviewed for "pros and cons."

McKinsey Partner to Oversee Time Inc. Transition
NY Post: Time Inc. "has apparently dropped plans to name an official “chief transformation officer” and instead tapped a consultant--a McKinsey partner--who will be overseeing his own staffers devoted to the project. Jaison Blair, Time Inc.’s head of investor relations, had tossed his hat into the ring to be named CTO, one source said, only to see the company ultimately hand the job instead to McKinsey partner Christian Schmitz. '[Schmitz] is supported by over 25 other McKinsey employees,' said an insider. Schmitz did not return a call or email. In his talk with analysts last week, Time CEO Richard Battista confirmed reports that the company is looking to slice up to $400 million in costs over the next 18 months. 'McKinsey is to be paid a percentage of the savings, so they’re taking this very, very seriously,' said the insider. Meanwhile, first-round potential buyout bids for the Tampa, Fla., customer service center are now being received. 'They’re looking at getting about $300M, including all the Tampa assets--machinery for printing, mail sorting, check imaging, etc.,' said the source..."

SI Play Teams With AIG Travel on Registration Saver
Time Inc. announced that Sports Illustrated has it teamed up with AIG Travel to offer Registration Saver, to insure fees associated with booking youth sports seasons on the SI Play youth sports platform. The AIG-backed Regsaver "provides an alternative to no-refund policies for illness, on- and off-the field injuries, and active military or job transfers, aiding SI Play parents, league administrators and more than 17M users," according to the release.

Crain Remains Committed to City Journals
NY Post: "Keith Crain, the chairman of Crain Communications, said the company remains committed to Crain’s New York Business and its other three city journals — in Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit. Last month, he took full control when he bought out the shares of the privately held, family-run company owned or controlled by older brother Rance Crain and family. Rance, who was president of the company and editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, was always viewed as more of an advocate of the city titles that have had some tough years of late. But with the stock sale, he and his daughter, Cindi Crain, were off the board. Almost immediately following the sale, there was speculation that the city titles were vulnerable to a sell-off or a shutdown... Keith Crain insisted that the city weeklies are very much part of the company’s plans going forward. And when asked if Rance had been their spiritual overseer, he said, 'Not true.' 'We love them,' Keith said. 'We have no plans to change them'... The company has had to shut down several titles in recent years, folding B2B into Ad Age and abruptly pulling the plug on Business Insurance in August 2016... The company will still look to start-ups over acquisitions. 'If it’s a good title, you have to pay too much to get it,' said Keith Crain, 'If it is not [profitable], you have to spend too much to fix it'"..."

Census Bureau: Book Sales Edge Up in 1H
PW: Bookstore sales in the first half rose by $11M to $5.06B, a 0.2% increase vs. 1H 2016, per U.S. Census Bureau preliminary estimates. The small gain was driven by four consecutive months of modest YOY sales increases, after bookstore results had declined in January and February. In June, sales were up 1.5% YOY, reaching $721M.


Retail News

Target Reports Same-Store Gains; Raises Outlook
Star-Tribune: "After four consecutive quarterly sales declines, [Target] said this morning that comp sales in the May-to-July quarter rose 1.3%, driven by increased traffic and a 32% growth in online sales. Target's stock jumped 5% in premarket trading. But the higher costs to fulfill online orders and the company's efforts to lower prices dragged down its bottom line. Target's net profit in the second quarter dropped 1.2% to $672M, down from $680M in the same quarter a year ago. Still, adjusted for one-time issues, its earnings per share was $1.23, essentially flat from last year and beating analysts' expectations of $1.19 and its own forecast of 95 cents to $1.15. Target also raised its expectations for the year, saying it now expects comp sales to be in the range of plus or minus 1%, instead of single-digit declines. It also raised its profit guidance for the year to the range of $4.34 to $4.54, instead of its prior forecast of $3.80 to $4.20..."

Target to Expand Next-Day Delivery Program
PG: "Target will expand its next-day essentials [grocery] delivery service program, Target ReStock, to two new markets: Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver. The service allows guests to build a box (up to 45 pounds) with their own selection from more than 15,000 popular essentials – from personal care items to cleaning supplies. Users who submit their order by 2 p.m. and pay $4.99 will receive their order the following day. Target began testing ReStock in May in its hometown of Minneapolis, with the aim of expanding after the summer trial. It has since been honing the service and has now expanded it to include a wider product assortment, including school supplies and baby food, Saturday deliveries, and availability to all customers, not just Target Redcard holders. News of the program’s expansion came a day after Target revealed that it will purchase Grand Junction, a San Francisco-based tech company that will allow it to expand same-day delivery service. Currently, the service is being piloted at the retailer’s store in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, but will expand to other stores in the city before the year’s end, and to additional major cities in 2018..."

Publix Promotes Katenkamp to VP Omnichannel
SN: "Erik Katenkamp has been named VP of omnichannel and application development at Publix Super Markets... Katenkamp has been instrumental in launching the Publix Delivery online shopping solution, including formalizing the retailer’s collaboration with Instacart, Publix said. In his new role, Katenkamp will focus on the continued development and execution of the company’s omnichannel strategy..."

Wal-Mart CEO Criticizes Trump's (First) Charlotte Response
In an article posted before Trump's impromptu remarks yesterday, Arkansas Business reported that "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Doug McMillon is criticizing President Donald Trump's initial response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, at a white supremacist rally. But McMillon, whose business has customers on all sides of the political spectrum, plans to stay on a Trump advisory panel and said that the president's follow-up remarks on Monday that named white supremacists were a step in the right direction. In a note to Wal-Mart employees on Monday, McMillon said that '(We) too felt that [Trump] missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together by unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists'"...

Trump Tweet Targets Amazon
USA Today: "President Trump renewed his attack on Amazon Wednesday, tweeting that the e-commerce giant is "doing great damage to tax paying retailers" and removing jobs in cities. Amazon, which employs about 180,000 in the U.S. and has plans to finish hiring 100,000 more full and part-time jobs by mid-2018, couldn't be reached for comment. Trump's blistering tweet, his first of the day, was issued hours after The Washington Post -- the newspaper owned by Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos--ran an editorial with the headline, 'Mr. Trump gives comfort to racists'"...

Metro CEO on Meal Kit Investment: 'We'll See Where It Goes'
SN: "The CEO of Metro Inc. on Tuesday described the Canadian grocer’s recent investment in a start-up meal kit company as an addition to its “digital tool box,” with the potential to be something more. Speaking in an earnings conference call, Metro CEO Eric LaFleche (pictured) said the investment in Miss Fresh, which was announced earlier this month, could provide the company with the opportunity to sell meal kits in stores and market to meal kit shoppers, while positioning itself to benefit from the growth of the meal kit business and Internet shopping in Canada... Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Metro said the three co-founders of Miss Fresh would retain a 30% ownership stake in the business. 'We keep abreast of all emerging trends and different things that are happening, and how people buy food and who buys and what they buy and how they cook and not cook,' LaFleche said. 'We've been looking at [the meal kit industry] for a little while. We talked to a few different players. We wanted to see what was the best fit for us. We liked the partnership model where we keep founders interested. This is a very small business, with a good young team with good technology. So, it was basically a small investment with good promise for future development, and we'll see where it goes'"...


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