DEAR KMART…: Bankrupt Kmart Corp. could use a little good news, even if it has to generate the glad tidings itself. It has started a new Web site, kmartforever.com, that’s the exclusive province of good news about the company and well-wishers — and most likely, distraught shareholders — hoping to see more upbeat information about it. Although screened for objectionable content, the site, launched last month, is open to all wishing to provide balance to much of the negative talk in the press and elsewhere on the Web about the floundering discounter. It even provides tips on how to write a pro-Kmart letter to the editor. Top story on the site Monday: “Kmart Supporters Want Stores To Live Forever,” aired on WDIV-TV in Detroit.
SO MUCH FOR A COMEBACK: After experiencing a promising September in which all the core fashion titles, except Elle, were up in ad pages, the category seems to be descending back to recessionary levels in October issues. According to Media Industry Newsletter, the month’s best performer was In Style (312 pages sold), up 1.7 percent from last year’s 307. Vogue had the second-largest total with 275.2 pages, but it dropped 20.7 percent from October 2001’s total of 347.2 pages. Next in line was W, which sold 214.1 pages, down 15.4 percent from last year’s 253 pages. Elle came in fourth, with 175.7 pages, down 17 percent from last year’s 211.4 pages. Harper’s Bazaar, in fifth, appears to be closing in on Elle. For the third month in a row, the magazine had a low single-digit increase in ad pages, to 161.1 ad pages sold, a 2.3 percent increase from last year’s 157.6 pages. Year to date, it has sold 1,169 pages compared with Elle’s 1,272.8. Last October, there was a much wider gap between the titles, with Elle at 1,618 pages sold and Bazaar at 1,368.
Outside the core fashion set, the results were better. Marie Claire and Glamour posted sizeable gains, with Glamour up 32.3 percent (202.2 pages), and Marie Claire up 14.9 percent (230 pages).
Vogue, W and Glamour are owned by Advance Publications, WWD’s parent company.
BROUNSTEIN’S NEW ROLE: Laura Brounstein, director of corporate communications at Primedia, is moving to the other side of the fence. She’s been named entertainment editor at Ladies’ Home Journal, replacing Jim Brousseau, who left the magazine.
Before taking on her most recent post, Brounstein was director of public relations for Seventeen, prior to which she was a producer at “Extra!”
Her replacement at Primedia hasn’t been named yet.
DONATELLA IN PRIMETIME?: Call it Versace TV. A&E network is tracking Donatella Versace for an upcoming documentary on the history of the Italian fashion house that will air in February. The A&E folks have already camped out at the Versace palazzo in Milan and will be hitting London next month for the Versace retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which opens to the public Oct. 17. An opening night gala will be Oct. 14. It’s the largest Versace exhibition ever held, and will include pieces from Donatella Versace’s archives as well. The latest V&A retrospective follows one the museum gave to Gianni Versace in the late Eighties.
POP UPS FREQUENCY: It’s survival of the fittest in magazine land these days — and Pop appears to be one of them. Having seen off rivals like Spruce and The Fashion, the super-hip, biannual fashion magazine based in London, is planning to go monthly, industry sources said. However, Ashley Heath, editorial director of the Emap title, would only confirm that discussions were taking place to “increase the frequency” of Pop. “The new Pop is selling as fast as we can put it on the newsstand and is our thickest one yet,” he said. “It’s not necessarily going monthly — there are a range of editorial directions we can take.”
The magazine, which is edited by Katie Grand, has Elizabeth Hurley on its cover this issue. Past covers have featured Madonna, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and Liberty Ross. Perhaps a monthly Pop is Emap’s way of making up for the expected loss of British Elle, which its partner Hachette U.K. is eager to take over completely.
CELINE DEBUT: Celine Dion will be photographed in Montreal today for her new fragrance ad campaign by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. The campaign, which is being created by Badger Kry & Partners, the New York ad agency, will make its debut this spring. Dion’s scent collection will be marketed within the Coty Beauty division — the fragrance firm’s mass market arm — and is expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2003. The fragrance introduction will coincide with Dion’s debut with the Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas.
FEELING THE HEAT: Just what the world needs — another celebrity magazine. Riding the wave of its hot weekly Heat, Emap is launching a celebrity weekly called Closer. The magazine, which premieres Wednesday is aimed at women between the ages of 30 and 60, and promises to deliver a mix of real-life and celebrity stories à la People magazine. “Closer was built on the success of Heat, but it embraces both the traditional women’s weekly market and the celebrity women’s weekly market which had recently become quite distinct,” an Emap spokeswoman said. “Closer will step into the breach. The editorial staff has been poached from a magazine and newspaper background so the content will have a newsy feel and a number of exclusives,” she added. The magazine’s editor in chief is Ian Birch and the editor is Jane Johnson, the former executive editor at the Sunday Mirror. The circulation will be about 300,000, while the cover price is $1.50.