"We came to this decision because we feel the magazine will not support our long-term business objectives," said Charles H. Townsend, president-CEO of Conde Nast. He thanked Susan Reed, editor in chief since 2002, and Chris McLoughlin, publisher since March 2007.
One door closes, another opens
Ms. Reed, however, may have seen the writing on the wall. News of the shutdown at Golf for Women came just a few hours after Hearst Magazines named Ms. Reed the new editor in chief of O, The Oprah Magazine, its joint venture with Harpo Productions. Ms. Reed, who assumes her new post July 29, succeeds Amy Gross, who Hearst said is retiring.
It's easy to see why Golf for Women would have been a candidate for the chopping block in tough times. Its ad pages fell 5.9% last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Its average paid and verified circulation increased 6.8% in the most recent report, but that was supported by a 37.8% increase in copies distributed to doctors' waiting rooms and other public places, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Newsstand sales, which buyers often watch to gauge a title's vitality, fell 12%.
The decision to close the magazine came abruptly, as many such calls do. Golf for Women had been inviting people to a party July 15 marking its "First Annual" Style Issue. That event is now canceled.
Part of a trend?
Golf for Women closely follows Hearst's Quick & Simple to the dustbin. Given the dark economic outlook, we may see more installments in a chain of recent shutdowns that cost readers Martha Stewart's Blueprint magazine, Alpha Media's Stuff, Conde's House & Garden and Hachette Filipacchi's Premiere.
Meredith started the Golf for Women title in 1998 and sold it to Conde Nast in 2001. At the time, published reports valued the deal between $10 million and $20 million.