Lucky Shake-Up Puts Focus on E-Commerce

Execs insist print magazine isn't going away, though

Lucky magazine, the Condé Nast shopping-focused fashion title, is shaking up its strategy and its executive ranks. Today, the company announced that Lucky is launching a new e-commerce platform and putting at its head a general manager, Condé Nast corporate svp of brand development Gillian Gorman Round.

Round, a former Lancôme USA exec, will oversee both business and editorial at Lucky while reporting to Condé president Bob Sauerberg—a major departure from convention at the editorial-driven company where editors have reported to editorial director Tom Wallace. Marcy Bloom, Lucky’s vp and publisher of a little more than a year, is leaving the magazine and wasn't replaced. It’s also unclear whether the publisher position will be filled.

While Lucky editor in chief Brandon Holley will report to Round, she'll keep her title, and in an interview with Adweek, Round emphasized that Holley will be her “partner” at the magazine.

Details of what Lucky’s e-commerce will entail are still sketchy, but Round said she sees e-commerce as being "a critical part” of the business. “Our advertiser revenue will continue to be incredibly important to us, but we are looking at all alternatives and incremental sources of revenue as is appropriate for a modern media model,” said Round.

This move will certainly invite speculation of Lucky’s going digital-only, rumors of which have been circulating as its print ad pages continue to drop. (According to the Publishers Information Bureau, Lucky’s ad pages fell a precipitous 20.3 percent to 893 in 2012 versus 2011.) When asked about the print property’s future, Round said, somewhat cryptically, “Our addiction and love of print will remain, and that’s a very important part, our commitment to print, but [so is] our commitment to developing digital assets.” 

For her part, Holley said she intended to further deepen the e-commerce play Lucky launched last year: “We started it, and we’re good, but now we need full commitment.” As for speculation that the magazine might go away, she said, “People tend to think that, we're going on e-commerce; that means we’re closing down the print. That isn’t that at all. It’s a huge content creator. [Condé Nast] is hugely committed to this [magazine]. They think Lucky is one the biggest opportunities for Condé Nast.”

Lucky's new structure is a first for a print-driven Condé title. (Epicurious, a digital-only property, is the only other brand overseen by a gm.) It’s also worth noting that Round will be the only business head of a magazine to report to Sauerberg—a consumer marketing vet—rather than company CEO Chuck Townsend.

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