Martha Stewart Cuts Back Magazines, Lays Off At Least 65

Whole Living Goes on the Block, Everyday Food Becomes a Supplement

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Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is laying off 65 to 70 employees and curtailing its commitment to two magazines in print, the company said on Thursday. It had employed roughly 600 people.

The layoffs accompany the decision to make Everyday Food a supplement to Martha Stewart Living instead of a standalone title, reducing its frequency to five times a year from 10 in the process, and to sell Whole Living or shut down its print edition and fold its content into Martha Stewart Living. Everyday Food will continue in digital media, according to the company, which expects the changes to save $33 million to $35 million a year.

"We have taken decisive action to drive the company's return to sustainable profitability, in part by reducing our costs for production and distribution and in part by creating even more engagement with our audiences, and better and more valuable opportunities for our advertisers," President-CEO Lisa Gersh said in the statement. "The initiatives announced today, coupled with those we've taken over the past year, further the emphasis we have been placing on digital, mobile and video platforms, reflecting our commitment to put our expert lifestyle content in closer reach of consumers, with greater frequency and in the ways they demand today and will expect even more in the future."

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia introduced Everyday Food in 2003 and acquired Whole Living predecessor Body & Soul in 2004. But the magazine business has become increasingly challenging as costs associated with print rise and revenue from advertisers wobbles.

Everyday Food averaged paid and verified circulation of nearly 1.1 million in the first half of the year, up 2.8% from the half a year earlier, according to its reports with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. But newsstand sales, a problem for most of the industry, fell 6.9%. Ad pages from the January issue through the November issue slipped 3.1% to 284.3, according to the Media Industry Newsletter -- a relatively small total for a monthly.

Whole Living averaged paid and verified circulation of 760,606, up 1.9% overall and down 14.6% on newsstands. Its January-through-November ad pages declined 7.6% to 475.2.

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