American Family Publishers lays off 85

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The parent company of one-time magazine subscription sales giant American Family Publishers on Tuesday laid off 85 employees. According to a statement released by American Family Enterprises, the company will "significantly curtail operations while it evaluates its new liens of business." However, an AFE spokesman said that the layoffs meant only about 15 employees remained with the company.

Last summer, AFE sent letters to magazine publishers informing them that beginning in Septmeber the company would no longer mail its sweepstakes promotions. In October 1999, AFE filed for Chapter 11. So-called "stampsheet" subscription promotions have come under legal fire for marketing practices. Last August, Publishers Clearing House spent $18.5 million to settle lawsuits over these practices in 24 states. At their peak, the stampsheet operations provided up to 1.4 million low-cost magazine subscriptions to publishers, but magazine execs say that as much as 90% of that volume has simply disappeared.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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