As reported in our early review a few weeks ago, 2011 proved to be a challenging year for print media. Sales continued to decline across many categories and most Classes of Trade (COT). A few major retailers made magazine fixture and placement decisions that had a huge negative impact of their sales, and less, but a significant effect on overall magazine sales. The demise of Border's, a top ten chain previously, certainly didn't help.
While the weekly/celebrity category continues to struggle, late in the fourth quarter of 2011, continuing into the first two months of 2012, MagNet, through our retailer POS data analyses, sees evidence that the sales decline for non-weekly titles is slowing.
As the category recap below reveals, there are some subject categories that are doing well. The Food/Wine category continues to be a bright spot, especially with the addition of The Food Network. Other very promising signs can be attributed to "specials" and/or "Book-A-Zines". These higher priced, top quality special editions continue to appeal to consumers. Notable are specials from Wenner Media, which increased sales in 2011 by over 1.0 million copies. Gun magazines were another surprising sub-category, with Guns Magazine and a fairly new title to the market, Garden & Guns showing double digit increases. So while overall sales were down in 2011, consumers continue to buy high quality publications that interest them. If that weren't the case, then retailers in the US and Canada wouldn't be selling over $10 million of magazines each and every day.
In the charts below, you will find a cross section of comparisons. The first two are dedicated to the 4Q2011 versus same period last year. The remaining comparison are full year comparisons, 2011 Vs. 2010.
Note: All numbers are based on "off-sale" date and are reported in millions