This news came during the company's May 7 conference call with stock analysts, which laid out in gruesome detail the continuing effects of Ms. Stewart's legal situation on her namesake company. CFO James Follo said that in the second quarter of `04, the flagship magazine is expecting a 50% drop in ad pages-substantially worse than the losses it's posted for a year now. (The 50% drop comes atop 30%-plus losses in 2Q `03.)
Mr. Follo pleads a lack of visibility for any future projections. We, however, look at two key events: Backward at Martha Stewart Living's founding Food Editor Susan Spungen and Senior Art Director Jill Groeber skedaddling to Hearst Magazines' Lifetime in March. And then forward to Ms. Stewart's sentencing date of June 17-or around when, per CEO Sharon Patrick, "final resolution" may be reached, thus soothing advertisers wary of uncertainty. Mid-June is also around the time when media buyers are buying for the last half of the year. All together now: Ouch.