February 27, 2009 / 9:43 PM / 10 years ago

Worth magazine lays off most of NY staff

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Worth, the luxury magazine that caters to high-rolling executives and wealthy people, cut its New York-based staff by 45 percent because of a sharp decline in advertising by financial firms.

Parent company Sandow Media plans to relaunch the magazine with the same focus on wealth management and luxury toys, but base its operations almost entirely in its headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, more than 1,200 miles from New York City, the financial capital of the world.

“Like every other publisher we are looking at ways to improve margins and get through this very difficult economy,” said Scott Yablon, chief financial officer at Sandow Media, in a telephone interview.

The move highlights the general downturn in publishing, especially financial publishing which has seen the shuttering of Doubledown Media, publisher of Trader Monthly and Private Air, as well as severe cut backs and bankruptcy filings in the U.S. newspaper industry.

The staff cuts at Worth, which included editorial as well as sales and marketing, reduced the New York-based headcount to 8 from 18.

Yablon confirmed sources who said the reductions left a skeleton crew in New York, including editor-in-chief Richard Bradley and a few low-level support staff.

The company shifted from 10 issues a year to 6 issues as part of an ongoing redesign of the magazine.

Yablon delivered the news to the staff in a meeting on Tuesday, February 24.

Bradley declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

The cuts are a sharp reversal from January when the general manager of Worth magazine, Alison Parks, told Reuters that there were no plans for layoffs.

“Absolutely not. In fact we need to make a couple of additional hires,” Parks told Reuters at the time when word of potential layoffs began to spread.

Sandow Media, led by Adam Sandow, has five titles focused on luxury lifestyle plus a contract publishing business, according to its website.

“Everybody has been losing advertising. Worth is heavily driven by the financial advertisers. So, yes, that has impacted our decisions,” Yablon said.

Yablon said the other operations of the company are not being consolidated like Worth.

“It is the financial sector. That financial sector I think has been hit probably the hardest of them all. We are actually projecting growth in all of our other publications,” he said.

A rebound for the publishing industry has a while to go. Yablon’s prediction for when there might be a turn in publishing? “I don’t think before 2010,” he said.

Reporting by Daniel Bases; Editing by Bernard Orr

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