Conde Nast to Shut Down Mademoiselle Magazine

Conde Nast Publications pulled the plug on women's magazine Mademoiselle after 66 years of publication, as the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon have worsened an already weak advertising climate, a company spokeswoman said Monday.

Editor-in-chief Mandi Norwood, who was lured away from Hearst to lead the magazine two years ago, and publisher Lori Burgess, who joined in late 1999, will be leaving the magazine, company spokeswoman Maurie Perl said.

Conde Nast will try to place as many of the magazine's 93-person staff within the company and those not placed elsewhere will leave with severance this Friday, she added.

In an internal memo obtained by Reuters, Conde Nast president and chief executive Steve Florio told staff of the New York-based publishing giant that "the magazine is no longer viable." Mademoiselle will be discontinued with the November issue due to "current economic conditions," according to the memo.

Publishers have been hit hard by the widespread economic uncertainty, which has dried up advertising spending. The Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon have exacerbated the situation, pinching revenue at many magazines.

"Mademoiselle was having a weak year but once the Sept. 11 disasters took place we had to make some very difficult economic decisions," Perl said.

"Sean Florio says this is very much due to the economic climate following the Sept. 11 disaster. We expect, as with most businesses, it will be a difficult fourth quarter and we forecast it will be a difficult business year in 2002, which caused us to make some very difficult but final decisions with Mademoiselle," she added.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Monday that the company was planning to cease publication of Mademoiselle.

"I'm not surprised. There have been rumblings about this for a long time," said one Conde Nast staffer. "It's a shame. It's kind of sad because it's been around for so long."

Several high-profile titles have folded -- including The Industry Standard -- and many more have slimmed down considerably in the wake of the ad slowdown.

Ad pages at Mademoiselle were down 17.6 percent in the period of January to August compared with the year-ago period, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

That compared with a nearly 12 percent increase at Jane magazine, a 13.8 percent decline at Glamour and 6.6 percent decline at Cosmopolitan.

Mademoiselle, founded in 1935, is just the latest publication under Conde Nast's umbrella to close down. Last year, the group closed Women's Sports & Fitness and Details, which was later relaunched by Fairchild Publications.

The group, like many of its publishing peers, has been evaluating its titles in the wake of the advertising slowdown, but Perl said none of the other titles were at risk of closure at the moment.