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Meanwhile, Meredith downplayed a New York Post report on Jan. 18 that Wal-Mart will dump three of the publisher's largest magazines from its stores. The paper reported that Wal-Mart purged 1,000 titles that are no longer in print (Celebrity Living, Child, Ellegirl) as well as magazines that are underperformers at the store, some of which target a more affluent audience than the average Wal-Mart shopper. During the conference call, Meredith Publishing Group president Jack Griffin said the New York Post report was "not accurate. If you go into Wal-Mart today, you'll find our magazines sold and we expect that to continue." Meredith recently struck a deal to sell home goods under the Better Homes brand in the stores beginning later this year. "We expect sales of Better Homes and Gardens magazine in fact to increase and the merchandising of it to be more pervasive around the store," added Griffin.
A Meredith spokesman also told WWD on Thursday: "Our products never left the stores, and they will continue to stay in the stores."
Wal-Mart, which accounts for about 15 percent of magazine sales in the U.S., also gave the indication that Meredith titles would still be sold in its stores, saying in a statement: "Wal-Mart has a mutually beneficial relationship with Meredith that includes a number of initiatives and programs. We continue to offer our customers the Meredith publications they seek, including Better Homes and Gardens." — Amy Wicks and S.D.S.