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In a move certain to inflame fears of an accelerated shakeout at the newsstand, on April 7 Hearst Magazines shuttered its decorating title Victoria. Its June issue, out in mid-May, will be its last.

Victoria staffers, which total around 30, were informed in a meeting with Hearst Magazines President Cathleen Black. The closing was first reported on AdAge.com (QwikFIND aao58d).

The move comes as tumult builds among the more stressed titles on the newsstand. In the last two-and-a-half weeks, independent title Gear ceased publication, albeit with plans to relaunch later this year, and financial title Worth essentially halved its staff and cut its frequency from 10 times a year to eight.

Victoria, which was founded in 1987, had long been seen by company observers as the red-headed stepchild of the Hearst portfolio, with a positioning that was difficult to communicate. (After its demise, one Hearst insider quipped "What was that magazine about?") Concern over its future accelerated in 2001, after its publisher functions were consolidated under Jayne Jamison, who also holds that title at Hearst's unrelated title Redbook.

A Hearst statement said Victoria "had attracted a loyal readership" but that "strong advertising support has been unachievable." Last year, according to Publishers Information Bureau, ad pages rose 5.9%-to 420. For the last half of 2002, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, circulation fell 0.8% to 969,180.