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NEWSSTAND SCORECARD: After taking a tumble on the newsstand in the latter half of 2003, Elle made it up and then some in 2004. Official numbers won’t be out for several weeks, but Elle Group publishing director Carol Smith said the title reported a single-copy sales average of about 298,000 in its semiannual statement to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That’s a 24.5 percent increase. Elle was also up 21.8 percent in ad pages in the first quarter of 2005, with 427.6, according to Media Industry Newsletter.

Lucky did similarly well, gaining 15.1 percent in its single-copy average (291,933) while posting a 21.9 percent rise in ad pages in first-quarter 2005, with 295.2.

Also up on both counts was Glamour, with newsstand sales of 986,446 (plus 2.3 percent) and 320.5 pages (plus 20.7 percent).

Vogue’s newsstand sales held level at about 493,000, while ad pages rose 2.9 percent to 654.3. 

Harper’s Bazaar’s single-copy average dipped 2 percent to 180,400, but ad pages were up 10.5 percent to 386.4. Jane was flat on the newsstand, with 134,000 (MIN did not publish Jane’s first-quarter page total). Marie Claire was down 8 percent on the newsstand, to 536,000, and down 5.2 percent in pages, to 235.3. Allure was up 9 percent on the newsstand, to 323,394, and up 10 percent in ad pages, with 241.1, according to a spokesperson. Cosmopolitan averaged single-copy sales of 2,018,553, up 3.2 percent; Cosmo’s pages were down 3.2 percent in the first quarter, to 367.6. Lucky, Glamour, Vogue, Allure and Jane are units of Advance Publications Inc., parent of WWD. — Jeff Bercovici

COUNTDOWN STOPPED AT ONE: If you’re wondering what’s going on with Esquire One, the international fashion spin-off conceived by former Esquire fashion director Stefano Tonchi, the answer is: nothing much. Hearst, which originally had planned to launch Esquire One in six countries (the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, Italy and Japan) starting in fall 2004, quietly put the project on hold after Tonchi left for The New York Times in October 2003.

This story first appeared in the February 1, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But that didn’t stop Esquire editor in chief David Granger from using it as bait to lure Nick Sullivan over from British GQ to replace Tonchi. Sources close to Sullivan said the chance to edit his own semiannual men’s fashion title figured prominently in his decision to accept the Esquire job in December 2003. Recently, one source added, Sullivan has been expressing frustration over Hearst’s apparent lack of interest in reviving the project.

Granger, however, insists Esquire One isn’t dead, just in a cryogenic state. “It’s a project that we continue to think about and explore,” he said. “It was a complicated idea, and, given that Nick was new to the country and to the magazine, his concentration has been on putting his imprint on the style pages and features in the magazine.” Translation: It will be a while before the thaw sets in. — J.B.

T TIME: The New York Times Magazine is saying ciao to Milano and launching its upcoming spring fashion issue of T there. Style editor Stefano Tonchi said the plan is to distribute 10,000 copies at the shows and hotels. The issue, with actress Ziyi Zhang on the cover, features a fashion shoot by Araki and a 6,000-word profile of Karl Lagerfeld by Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn. — Miles Socha

BILLBOARD FIREWALLS: Apparently employee hard drives aren’t the only things being swept for porn in the financial industry these days. On Monday, a men.style.com billboard bearing the slogan, “There’s more online than news, sports and porn,” went up next to Goldman Sachs’ corporate headquarters in Manhattan’s financial district. However, an unidentified executive at the global investment banking firm was so offended by the word “porn” that he asked that the ad be removed and so it was, 30 minutes later.

“We’ve been censored!” said Jamie Pallot, editorial director of CondéNet (like WWD, CondéNet and men.style.com are divisions of Advance Publications Inc.). “The whole point is, we were saying [the site] is not about porn. It’s about style and fashion. It’s a shame he didn’t get that. We’re all such puritans now.” Pallot added of the campaign conceived by Laird + Partners and put up on billboards by Clear Channel: “It’s still going up at various places around the city. There are variations on the same theme. There’s one that says, ‘Porn. You won’t find it here. Explicit coverage of fashion.’”

Goldman Sachs did not return calls for comment. While the company’s employees presumably have long been banned from viewing porn on their PCs, now it seems those at the 85 Broad Street office are banned from looking at the word “porn” through their windows, as well. Their fascination is money anyway. — Sara James

VIRTUAL LUXE: French publisher Assouline has ventured onto the Web in high style with Luxuryculture.com. Launched without fanfare in January, the English-language site is billed as the ultimate forum for luxury window-shopping, with the look of a glossy magazine. Online “departments” on fashion, beauty, jewelry, timepieces, cars, design, gourmet and art contain listings and product news — and links to commerce-equipped sites. “This is about technology serving luxury and not the other way around,” said editorial director and publisher Yaffa Assouline. Advertising is sold on a seasonal basis, with rates ranging from 15,000 to 50,000 euros, or $19,500 to $65,000 at current exchange. To reach a first-year turnover target of 1 million euros, or $1.3 million, Assouline just hired Helene Mengus, former associate publisher of French Vogue, as publisher of the site. Current advertisers include Chanel, Christian Dior and Dior Homme, Jimmy Choo, Hobbs, ST Dupont, the Ritz Paris and the Plaza Athénée. — Tina Isaac

THE QUARTER BOUNCE: Bauer Publishing, which sparked the current vogue for sub-$2 cover prices with In Touch, is hoping to juice sales of the new Life & Style Weekly with a 25-cent promotional price. The March 21 issue (on sale starting March 14) will cost the same as The New York Post, confirmed Mark Pasetsky, Life & Style’s general manager. “We expect this promotion will help accelerate the growth of the magazine,” he said, adding that it recently raised its rate base to 350,000 from 200,000. Indeed, when In Touch ran a 25-cent promotion last July, the issue sold 1.5 million copies, way overshooting its 650,000 rate base (now at 1.02 million).

The need to ramp up Life & Style’s readership has gained urgency with the news that American Media is developing a similar title. Tentatively called Celebrity Living Weekly, it will launch in April 2006, assuming AMI chairman David Pecker can sell his backers on it. According to an e-mail that has been circulating among former AMI employees, the first issue of Celebrity Living will sell for 25 cents before jumping to $1.89. An AMI spokesman said he could not confirm that detail.

In other Life & Style news, Samantha Youngman Meiler has been named editor, reporting to editor in chief Sheryl Berk. She was previously developing a new women’s title for Bauer, which sources say is a shopping magazine. That project is still going ahead, and Self veteran Andjrez Janerka was recently brought in as its art director. — J.B.

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