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Fashion Magazines Shake Off Weak Economy, Digital Trends

Fashion magazines are reporting strong sales for their all-important Sept. fashion issues.

Fashion magazines are reporting strong sales for their all-important Sept. fashion issues.

Fashion magazines in the United States are reporting record advertising sales in many cases for their all important September issues, typically the largest of the year. It’s a sign that high-end fashion, much like the art market, is bucking a weak economy and digital trends.

Such titles as Hearst’s Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire and Time’s InStyle are all reporting double digit gains in September advertising sales, which closed this month.

“As much as we are in a digital world, where the audience really aggregates in a big way is print,” Michael Clinton, president-marketing and publishing director at Hearst Magazines, told advertising trade Ad Age, which closely follows the market.

Fashion Magazines Post Big September Gains

  • Vogue (Conde Nast): 655 ad pages, up 1 percent over last year, but less than record 2007 issue of 725 pages.
  • W magazine: 288 ad pages, up 17 percent over last year, largest September since 2008.
  • Glamour (Conde Nast): 224 ad pages, up 18 percent over last year.
  • Elle (Hearst): 442 ad pages, up 12% over last year.
  • Harper’s Bazaar (Hearst): 397 ad pages, up 10 percent over last year.
  • Marie Claire (Hearst): 246 ad pages, up 13.5 percent over last year and an all-time record.
  • InStyle (Time Inc.): 455 ad pages, up 3 percent over last year and an all-time record.

Source: Ad Age

Clinton said a stronger U.S. economy and continued weakness in Europe and China are causing fashion brands to place their bets on the U.S. market.

“There’s a lot of money coming in to the U.S.,” he said. “In the global luxury/fashion world, there’s a growing perception that there is growth in the American market because the Euro Zone is still struggling and China is leveling off,” he said.

Meanwhile, other print media, notably newspapers, continue to struggle. Layoffs are announced almost daily as publications trim staffs in the face of declining pring advertising revenue.

In a sign of the times, Boston Red Sox baseball team owner John Henry announced yesterday that he’d bought the Boston Globe newspaper from The New York Times Co. for a fire-sale price of $70 million. The Times paid $1.1 billion for the paper in 1993.

Magazines saw an overall decline in print ad pages of 4.9 percent, during the first six months of the year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

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