Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Martha’s Sales Sink

Posted by Scott On November - 21 - 2019

Martha Stewart Living continues  its struggles in the Canadian market in 2019. With 8 of 8 issues so far all posting losses from prior year.

  • In 2018, sales were down 24%, with all 10 issues down.
  • In 2017, sales were down 13%, with just 1 of 10 issues up.
  • In 2016, sales were down 12%, with just 1 of 10 issues up.
  • In 2015, sales were down 29%, with all 10 issues down.
  • In 2014, Martha Stewart Living sold 13,820 copies per issue, and in 2018 they sold 5,653 copies per issue.   So far in 2019 they are averaging 4,426 copies per issue.

It’s a very crowded category, with excellent Canadian competitors that dominate the landscape in Canada.

Contributing to the problem is a cut in dealer coverage.

  • In 2018 dealers cut 16%.
  • In 2017 dealers cut 19%.
  • In 2016 dealers cut 1.4%
  • In 2015 dealers cut 6.1%

However, covers make a big difference too.

Check out these covers from Dec 2017, Dec 2018, and Dec 2019.  The 2017 (Live Wreath) cover is great, despite having the cover lines on the right instead of the left.  It sold 13,075 copies at a 54% sell-through, the best issue of the year.  Plus, it was up 91% or 6,842 copies more then the average of the other 9 issues that year.  The 2018 (Fake Stale Cookie Wreath) sold 8,467 copies, down 35% from prior year.  And I don’t hold out too much hope for the Dec 2019 cover (Charlie Brown Christmas Tree), which looks quite sparse and pathetic.

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About Me

Scott Bullock is a veteran circulation expert with over 38 years experience in both Canada and the United States. He has worked on trade titles such as Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal and Small Press in the USA. In consumer magazines, Scott was the Circulation Director for D Magazine (the city magazine of Dallas, Texas), and in Canada he was the Circulation Director for Toronto Life, Fashion, and Canadian Art. From 2000 to 2004, Scott was a partner at Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. Scott has also held the post of VP Sales & Marketing, for CDS Global, Canada. Currently, CoversSell.Com is Scott’s circulation consultancy. Active clients include: Fly Fusion, Canadian Geographic, Canadian House & Home, Canada’s History, Canadian Real Estate Wealth, Canadian Woodworking, Canadian Cycling, Canadian Running, Canadian Scrapbooker, Legion, Harrowsmith, SkyNews, and SuperTrax.

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