APPAREL BOOSTS 1ST-QUARTER BUSINESS AT MAGS

Byline: L.L.

NEW YORK — Business is back.
The momentum that drove February’s ad revenues to record levels has carried over into March and most leading women’s fashion and lifestyle magazines delivered solid increases.
Some, in particular Glamour, Mademoiselle, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and Mirabella, are coming off dismal year-ago figures, but this year’s increases are widespread enough that observers predict the upward trend will continue.
Vogue, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, Mademoiselle, W, Vanity Fair, Self, Architectural Digest and Town & Country all showed increases in March ad pages, while Mirabella was virtually flat for the month, according to numbers supplied from the magazines and Media Industry Newsletter (see chart).
For the first quarter, Harper’s Bazaar managed to regain its number two position from Elle in ad pages, which HB had relinquished last summer.
Through March, Vogue remains firmly in the number one spot, logging 538.6 ad pages, followed by Harper’s Bazaar, at 390.6, and Elle, at 376.5.
Ironically, Mademoiselle, which only last month abruptly replaced its publisher Julie Lewit-Nirenberg with Catherine Viscardi Johnston, showed a 24.1 percent increase in ad pages for the first quarter of the year.
Regarding February’s windfall, Publishers Information Bureau indicated that the apparel, footwear and accessories category was a big contributor to ad revenue growth. The category generated $52.8 million in volume for the month, a 32.8 percent hike from a year ago.
Toiletries and cosmetics also showed an increase in February. Revenues in the category increased 9.5 percent to $70.9 million.
All top 10 ad categories tracked by PIB showed increases in February, and four were above the 19.4 percent average. Automotive, accessories and equipment were up a total of 35.5 percent to $113 million; foods and food products increased 61.6 percent to $64.7 million, and publishing and media was up 50.5 percent to $31.8 million.
“February marks the second consecutive month to show record revenue gains in over a decade. In fact, February magazine revenue gains were the highest measured by PIB for any February since 1979. Also, revenue gains were recorded in all of the top 10 categories in both January and February,” said James Guthrie, executive vice president, marketing development, at Magazine Publishers of America.