Jobs losses possible as Hachette shuts Sugar

Hachette Filipacchi is to cease publication of its teen-focused magazine Sugar to concentrate its efforts on its Sugarscape online brand.

The publisher said this morning it had started consultation with editorial and advertising staff working on the print title and that it hoped to avoid redundancies through redeploying staff to vacancies on other titles.

It is unclear yet how many editorial and advertising staff will be affected by the closure of the magazine.

Hachette said it had taken the decision to close the 16-year-old-magazine in response to the “fundamental shift in the nature of the teen publishing marketplace”.

“Over the past decade the teen magazine market has declined by 75 per cent as teens spend their media time on mobile and web platforms and increasingly expect to receive content for free,” the company said in a statement.

As one of the first glossy magazines specifically for teenage girls, Sugar was once a market leader with many similar titles – Bliss, Cosmo Girl and Mizz – launching in its wake.

Publisher Rita Lewis said: “It is with great regret that we have had to announce the closure of Sugar magazine.

“It has had a fabulous history and some of the finest talent in media has worked on it over the years.

“I would like to personally thank the current team led by Annabel Brog for working tirelessly during increasingly difficult times.

“While, as publishers, we recognise reluctantly that Sugar magazine is no longer a viable business, we are pleased to be able to continue to invest in Sugarscape.com, which delivers a healthy return, underpinning our decision to focus on the digital platform.”

According to the publisher, the Sugarscape website, which it launched in 2007, now attracts 430,000 users each month.

The most recent figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations reveal that the printed version of Sugar had an average monthly sale of 113,320 during the first half of last year.

Circulation of the magazine peaked in the first half of 2000 when it averaged a monthly sale of 422,179, according to ABC.

The March edition of Sugar will be its last and will hit newsstands on 23 February. A Sugar Beauty Special will be published in April.

The closure of Sugar comes as Lagardère, the French owner of Hachette, completes the final stages of a deal to sell its international magazine business to Hearst Corporation, which owns UK publisher, The National Magazine Company.

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