Shelter Magazines Shrink as Advertising Slump Hits Home

There’s nothing like a popped housing bubble to send shelter magazines running for well, shelter. The past year has seen the demise of titles such as Domino, Home, and Blueprint, but what about the magazines that are trying to weather the storm? According to a report in today’s WWD, “the remaining titles are seeing at least 25 percent declines so far this year, from an already tougher 2008, the category’s shrink notwithstanding.” Year to date through April, ad pages in Elle Decor, House Beautiful, and Metropolitan Home are down 22%, 23%, and 27%, respectively. And Architectural Digest? Ad pages through have plummeted by almost 50% to 270 pages year to date through April.

Publisher Giulio Capua attributed the drop to half of AD‘s business being in nonendemic luxury lifestyle—automotive, travel, finance—where spending is seriously crimped. The other half is from the home trade, often made up of small businesses that are seeing their lines of credit cut back, rendering advertising a low-priority, controllable expense.

But don’t look for AD to let cheap n’ chic spoil the party for loyal advertisers such as Clive Christian, Maserati, and Poggenpohl. “We don’t do design on a dime,” said Capua. “Our mission and our position would become fuzzy and unclear.”