Reports of Lucky magazine going all-digital have been a staple of the media rumor mill for several years, with WWD reporting just last month that the brand would be closing its print business in the wake of editor in chief Eva Chen's planned departure. Today, The Lucky Group is putting those rumors to rest (for the time being, at least) by revealing a major revamp that will see the magazine continue on, but as a quarterly publication rather than a monthly one.
"The shift to a quarterly matches the consumer habits and also offers a unique value proposition," Josh Berman, CEO of The Lucky Group, told Adweek in an email. "What differentiates us in the marketplace is print—as content and commerce converge, we're seeing the fashion industry use print as a differentiator and as a tool to reach the audience/customer in a different way."
The new Lucky, which will debut with a September issue at the end of the summer, will have a more "premium 'collectible' feeling" with upgraded paper stock, said Berman. Further details about the quarterly's circulation, distribution and advertisers have yet to be revealed, although the company confirmed the May issue will be the last in Lucky's current incarnation and that Condé Nast will continue to print and distribute the publication. (Condé will also remain a shareholder and board member for the time being.)
Content-wise, executive editor Leigh Belz Ray described the quarterly as a cross between the current Lucky and the brand's annual Special Interest Publication. "The feedback we've gotten from readers is that they like to have something that has a special feel to it," she said. "We want to make a really beautiful product that they'll want to keep on their coffee table and hold onto for a long time."
On the digital side, said Berman, "We really plan to really invest in the team and the site infrastructure to increase output and streamline our content-to-commerce workflow," which includes continuing to grow the Lucky Shops e-commerce platform that launched in February. Since then, LuckyShops.com has seen a 55 percent increase in traffic, per the company.
Video will also be a big focus in the coming months. "I think it's part of the DNA of Lucky to see the editors really front and center and be really voice-y and service-y, and that's something that video does in a way that other mediums don't do," said digital editorial director Verena von Pfetten, who added that Lucky's new offices in Manhattan's Flatiron district, where the team plans to move in July, will include a 3,000-square-foot photography and video studio. "As we are shooting all the products [for e-commerce] and shooting original stories, we'll also be creating more video and original how-to content around that."
The restructuring will result in layoffs on both the editorial and business sides of The Lucky Group, with around 10 people expected to depart. (Another 10 were laid off earlier this year.) Also exiting is president Gillian Gorman Round—formerly general manager of Lucky—who will be "returning to her creative marketing roots," per a spokesperson. Editor in chief Chen will remain with Lucky through the transition and will likely depart later this summer.
Meanwhile, The Lucky Group is currently in talks with several outside companies that are "very interested" in either forming a joint venture with or acquiring Lucky. An official announcement is expected this summer.
Lucky was launched by Condé Nast in 2000 as "the magazine about shopping." The title was an early hit, but circulation and ad pages began to decline in recent years as readers increasingly turned to digital outlets for their shopping-related content. Amid rumors of Lucky's demise, Condé brought in Round, a former Lancôme marketing executive, and Chen, most recently the beauty editor of Teen Vogue, to revive the brand. Finally, last August, it was announced that Lucky would spin off from Condé and merge with e-commerce company BeachMint (of which Berman was co-founder and CEO) to form The Lucky Group.