Hearst Boasts Record-Breaking March

Elle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, Cosmo all boost ad pages

After a strong showing in September, Hearst Magazines is looking to clean up again with its March issues on the strength of fashion, retail, luxury and beauty ads. With much to crow about, the company got a jump on its rivals in putting out its numbers for the March issue, which, along with September, are fashion magazines' biggest of the year.

Elle’s March issue was up 6 percent to 338 ad pages, with new advertisers including Balmain, Pucci, Ritz Carlton and Hermès. The magazine has grown considerably in the year and a half since publisher Kevin O’Malley took over, increasing overall ad pages 6 percent in 2012, and is now Hearst’s second-largest business in the U.S. after Cosmo.

Marie Claire’s March issue—its biggest to March date, following last year’s record-breaker—marks the full-issue debut of its editor in chief, Anne Fulenwider. The magazine closed (on Sunday night, just in time for its team to fly out to the West Coast to host a Golden Globes party with the Weinstein Company) with 208 ad pages, up 15.3 percent year over year.

Harper’s Bazaar closed another record-breaking issue on the 1-year anniversary of its redesign. With 325 ad pages—a 20 percent increase—and new advertisers like Proenza Schouler, Jil Sander, and Giorgio Armani Beauty, it’s Bazaar’s biggest-ever March.

Cosmopolitan is up 12.6 percent in March with 130 ad pages, its biggest in five years. It will be editor in chief Joanna Coles's first full issue, which includes some editorial content and design tweaks.

Coles also plans to infuse the Cosmo brand with her high fashion bona fides, which, judging from its March covers—three versions are being produced, featuring Miley Cyrus and styled by Rachel Zoe wearing Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, and Roberto Cavalli—is off to a good start. (At the same time, Coles is giving a nod to the magazine’s heritage: The photo featuring Cyrus in a Dior gown is  meant to pay homage to legendary editor Helen Gurley Brown’s original covers, Coles said.)

Hearst Magazines president, marketing and publishing director Michael Clinton said about half of the company's portfolio will post double-digit gains in March. Those include Seventeen (the March issue, its biggest in 10 years, has new advertisers like Chanel fragrance and Dior beauty), Food Network Magazine, House Beautiful, Elle Décor, and Esquire.

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