Meredith is closing the hip, DIY darling ReadyMade magazine and eliminating 75 positions from the company as a whole, incurring a $10 million one-time charge in a bid to save costs in the long run.
"Positioning Meredith for continued growth requires periodic realignment of resources, including how we deploy our workforce," Meredith Chairman-CEO Steve Lacy said in a statement confirming word that had emerged hours earlier. "These actions will enable us to devote additional resources to key strategic growth initiatives, including digital platform expansion."
The magazine business has been enjoying a rebound since the worst days of the recession forced many brands from print, but Meredith 's magazine division, the National Media Group, recently saw first-quarter ad revenue fall 11% from the quarter a year earlier and circulation revenue decline 9%. The group held the decline in operating profit to 6% as it cut operating expenses 5% and other revenue increased 11%.
Meredith acquired ReadyMade, a bimonthly founded in 2001 that 's been called a "Martha Stewart for 20-somethings," in 2006 as a way to attract younger readers than those that predominate at Meredith titles like Ladies' Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens.
Meredith promised to increase ReadyMade's circulation to 200,000 within a few months. By the second half of last year, ReadyMade averaged a steady paid and verified circulation of 335,230, according to its reports with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
ReadyMade's publisher, Jeff Wellington, left for Scholastic Parent & Child in late February; no successor was named before the shutdown today. Ad pages at ReadyMade then declined 8.5% in the first quarter while magazines as a whole gained 2.5%, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. ReadyMade ad pages had increased 18.4% last year while magazines as a group stayed flat.
ReadyMade received National Magazine Award nominations for General Excellence in 2005 and 2006 among titles with paid circulation below 100,000 and remained a favorite for its core audience. But it was neither making money, according to people familiar with the situation, nor likely to contribute much to Meredith 's growing focus on its brands with the largest reach.