Lucky magazine, once a blockbuster, genre-defining title for owner Conde Nast, has suspended its print operations, halting a plan to shift from publishing 10 times a year to quarterly, according to a person familiar with The Lucky Group, which publishes the magazine. The person did not know when or even whether the company would continue its quarterly print plans.
About 14 people were laid off as a result, the person said. Some of the people who worked on print were absorbed into Lucky Group's digital operation, which continues unimpeded, this person added.
A spokeswoman for Lucky did not respond to Ad Age's repeated emails and calls seeking comment.
Lucky's demise as a print magazine -- first reported by Women's Wear Daily -- is the latest chapter in the 15-year history of the title, which was once so successful a shopping magazine that it spawned imitators from Vitals to Shop Etc. to Cargo. Ad Age named Lucky the Magazine of the Year in 2003.
It's hard to overstate Lucky's impact on the publishing world; Lucky invented a whole new genre of magazine -- a shopping guide that displayed products with little text, explaining only why readers needed to make a purchase.
But the magazine failed to recover from the 2008 recession that battered the magazine industry. It sputtered along, seeing ad pages -- still the primary source of revenue for most magazines -- drop by double-digit percentages year-over-year. In 2013, Lucky introduced a redesign that was partly led by Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Conde Nast Artistic Director Anna Wintour.
The redesign didn't stem rumors about the magazine's closure, which echoed across media until last summer when Conde Nast spun off the magazine into a separate company called The Lucky Group that's owned by Conde Nast and BeachMint, an e-commerce company run by MySpace co-founder Josh Berman.
"We're really bullish on the plan," Mr. Berman told Ad Age last August, referring to the print magazine, which he said the company would look to grow.
In April, Lucky Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen parted ways with the magazine, which announced a month later that it planned to shift from a 10-times-a-year print schedule to quarterly as it focused on e-commerce.
The owners of Lucky Group have been in active discussions with investors, but it's unclear whether those investors would pour more money into the company or buy it outright.
Some media reports said Lucky Group is shutting down altogether, but the person with knowledge of the company denied that claim. "The Lucky Group is not going to shutter," this person said.