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BUILDING NEW HOUSES: A year ago, the shelter magazine category experienced its own version of an extreme home makeover when Margaret Russell jumped to Architectural Digest from being editor in chief at Elle Decor and Michael Boodro was recruited to succeed her. It’s been fairly quiet on both fronts since, with most chatter directed to the Web and the growing list of online-only titles, such as Lonny and Rue.
Yet a mini print rebound appears to be taking place. This may be due in part to the fact there is less competition given the closures of House & Garden, Blueprint and Domino, to name a few. Boodro, for one, will freely admit that. But since joining Elle Decor, he’s managed to buck the sliding circulation and ad page trend that has plagued many of his peers during the first half, with newsstand up 6 percent to 92,275, despite a cover price increase to $5.99. Ad pages rose 11 percent to 524 and for the second half, Elle Decor published its largest September issue ever, up 26 percent. “The design industry was badly hit in the last couple years, but it’s coming back and we’ve benefited from that,” said Boodro, adding that the October issue features the couturier Andrew Gn’s Paris apartment and Andrew Rosen’s Upper West Side duplex. “We’re not going to get Valentino or Karl Lagerfeld,” Boodro said. “They will go to Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, but I don’t think we’re competing with say, Lonny, in terms of projects. There is a validity to beautiful pictures on paper and a hunger for that.”
Boodro is competing every month with Architectural Digest, which also reported a small rise in advertising, up 4.6 percent to 423 pages. But Russell doesn’t seem to be having the same success as Boodro when it comes to single-copy sales: Newsstand was down 14 percent during the first half to 67,994. Publisher Giulio Capua said that’s what happens when you’re competing with a first half of 2010 that had Jennifer Aniston on its March cover. “She’s just a ridiculous seller,” he noted. The issue sold 117,000 copies at newsstand. Capua said September is the first issue that Russell, whom he referred to as “the chosen one,” has been able to show her long-term vision and direction for the magazine. He expects a strong second half to follow, with a bump in ad pages in every issue. “We should end the second half close to 8 percent ahead,” said Capua. “And second-half circulation is tracking 15 percent ahead on newsstand.”