Removal from Wal-Mart racks is latest hit to magazine world

On January 15 Wal-Mart announced it would toss more than 1,000 magazine titles from its shelves.

In the news
On January 15 Wal-Mart announced it would toss more than 1,000 magazine titles from its shelves. Not surprisingly, the common man's retailer kicked luxury-living and high-brow titles like Conde Nast's Cookie, W, and The New Yorker to the curb. The store also scuttled big-name business pubs, such as BusinessWeek and Fortune.

Magazine reps wouldn't comment on the record about this issue, but a Town & Country spokesperson said the magazine, which also got the Wal-Mart axe, sold only about 300 copies per month off the stands. And though the New York Post wrote that Wal-Mart had dumped Meredith's Better Homes & Gardens and Ladies' Home Journal, the household-pleasing titles are "currently available at Wal-Mart and will continue to be," said a Meredith spokesperson.

Why does it matter?
Because the stores generate a whopping 20% of magazine sales nationwide, Wal-Mart's move could hurt new magazines, which need newsstand sales to help them develop a following.

Others speculate that magazines still on the racks could benefit from the Wal-Mart's decision.

"I've had the experience of looking at so many publications at Wal-Mart that are of no interest to me whatsoever that, yeah, it probably could help to clear some of the clutter," said Thomas Eppes, a senior partner with Eric Mower & Associates. "The Internet has also gotten to the point that most people know where they can find their favorite magazine. Bottom line, it also offers a wealth of opportunity for other messages."

Larger magazines seemed indifferent to the move. "Hearst's titles are largely unaffected by Wal-Mart's recent decision," a spokesperson said. "Town & Country is not among our biggest-selling titles in Wal-Mart."

With larger outlets moving out, newer titles might find more breathing room.

Five facts:
1. In 2004, Time Inc. launched All You, a title distributed exclusively at Wal-Mart stores featuring fashion, shopping, and lifestyle tips for women likely to shop there.

2. Citing sources close to the magazine, WWD reported that Conde Nast's Portfolio's single-copy sell-through percentage is only 15%-18% of its newsstand copies -a low number for a new magazine.

3. Among the six major celebrity magazines, Jennifer Aniston covers sold the most magazines, collectively unloading more than 5 million copies, according to, which conducted a six-month survey.

4. Online magazine site recently teamed with Apple to launch the Zinio Mobile Newsstand, offering perfect replicas of print magazines accessible through the iPhone and iPod touch.

5. A recent survey by the American Marketing Association found that digital editions of magazines have served as a way for magazines to revitalize their brands.

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