Speaking to 1500 Loblaws Delegates about Magazines and Books

I recently returned from a Loblaws trade show.   This show piggybacks on Loblaws National Kick-Off meetings and is held every 2 years.  The show moves around to various locations in Canada and this year was held in Halifax on January 29th and 30th.    It is a very busy 2 days where we get to visit with 1500 Head Office Employees, Store Managers, Specialists, and District Managers.  We collect 3000 copies of our top-selling magazines, to give away, to the people who visit our booth!  This makes our booth a very popular stop!

We also promote new books that are being released. This year we were promoting the prequel to the Hunger Games that is releasing in May 2020.  It is called The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes and there will be lots of excitement surrounding it.

The trade show is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our product and speak to the profitability of the reading category.   It is so important to discuss the attributes of the category.  This show gives us an opportunity to showcase facts that the staff might not be aware of and put a positive spin on reading!  It also gives us an opportunity to recap any recent changes (new fixtures, locations, etc.) and how those changes have impacted our sales.   One of the items we spoke about was a U Scan fixture that we added in RCSS banner stores during 2019.  We showcased the success of this additional fixture with the hope of adding it to more banners.

In addition to the reading category, we were also discussing the various other categories TNG is involved in with Loblaws banner stores.   Did you know that TNG delivers the majority of craft beer to Loblaws stores?  In late 2018 we also launched a program, with Soda Stream, which has been a huge success! TNG handles all of the logistics for this product and is highly involved with the head office team in regards to planning and promotion.   We also managed the initial set up and continued merchandising of the new party sections at Loblaws stores.   TNG now merchandises these sections weekly when we visit to complete our magazine and book merchandising.

Overall the show is a very busy few days but I believe it gives us a good opportunity to showcase our products and services to the key people at Loblaws Co.

When Magazines Resonate, They Sell

We the North Indeed! It’s been proven again and again that when a topic resonates with consumers, they will pick up the magazine that covers it.

Raptors commemorative magazines

The rousing success of the basketball title win by the Raptors and the Black Friday 2019 event in Costco Canada shows what can be done when great planning and execution is married to great products.

Magazine titles prominently displayed on racking that held plenty of copies

Costco featured the commemorative win titles prominently in stores. 100% compliance was nailed nationally and the results are just phenomenal.  Single stores sold over 1000 copies. One store even sold 1400 units. And, to think this was in a single chain.

People wanted to hold that commemorative issue in their hands and relive the experience through the images and articles in their chosen magazine. We see this every time a title or a topic resonates.

Costco had sales of $500, 000 for these titles alone. Collectively,  across the ‘north’, the issue brought the industry millions of dollars.
Black Friday event at Costco

Black Friday was another well-executed event, where in this case, a deep discount drove magazine sales.  This 5-day, 40% off event also had 100% compliance at the store level. Rack signage and an e-blast offer to all members increased awareness at the stores.

Shoppers responded positively driving sales, and in the case of 15 stores, sales were doubled over the previous year! Total unit sales were up 34% and dollar sales were up 51% for this period.

This is an exceptional result and kudos goes out to Costco, CMMI and their agency partners for a wonderful retail success story.

The 2018 Box Score for Magazines is Here!

Every year, it is with bated breath that we await the latest box score report, letting us know who is up, and what magazines are really making it happen at retail. Click here for the 2018 report.

MBR Canada Event Brings Together Industry Experts

Magazines and Books at Retail (MBR) hosted another stellar day of learning, providing some interesting insights about what’s happening at retail, and online, at the Marriott in Markham, Ontario, on October 21st. As always, this event was packed with value.

The meeting began with round table meetings in the morning, where retailers, representatives from retail, consultants and magazine publishers were able to discuss what’s new and exciting, and to also take care of a little business. The presentations kicked off over lunch, with our own Craig Sweetman announcing the winners of the 2018 IAG Retailer Awards. Retailers who support the magazine category and whose sales surpassed those of the industry were presented their awards this summer. Click here to see this year’s winners.

I, then chatted about how the industry members could get involved in the promotion of the magazine category, by providing content for our blog, this blog. So many positive stories are going on out there from new title launches, to hot covers and titles that continue to grow month after month, and year after year. These are the stories the industry should be hearing more of, and we encourage, no, we would love guest contributors to our blog. Reach out and become a contributor.

Melanie Rutledge of Magazines Canada then joined the podium with the exciting launch of an upcoming research study to be conducted focusing on the area of Click and Collect for publications. Together with Phil Scrutton of Brandspark International and Craig Sweetman of CRS Media, they reviewed the still relevant findings of 2016 research and introduced this vital new research project that is funded through Heritage Canada. Click here to have a look at the presentation.

What’s hot, what’s not… Scott Gosse, Metro 360 gave the latest box score that surprised some of us with the magazine stats. Click here to view.

Amar Singh, Senior Analyst at Kantar Retail IQ put together a program specifically for the Canadian magazine and book retail audience ~ eCommerce in Canada. Always insightful and entertaining, he talked to key omnichannel retailer strategies: Loblaws, Sobeys, and Walmart. Not only did he provide what is happening in the marketplace and with consumers, he brought forth implications and opportunity for books and magazines. Click here to view. 

The jam-packed day concluded with impressions of the day from industry experts: Annie Gabriellian, St. Joseph Media, Carm Alfano, TNG Canada, Craig Sweetman, CRS Media, and Dean Waldron, Metro 360.

Special thanks goes out to Jerry Lynch, MBR President and to Jose Cancio for organizing such an important industry event.

Summer Reading – Had Me At Relax

The long days of summer have us in search of and enjoying a variety of experiences. Music festivals, action-packed movies, summer cuisine, fun fashion and various other outdoor activities and yes, road trips. Holidays provide more leisure time for these activities and magazines are a great resource for our passions, providing inspiration, information and ideas.

While there is no doubt that we’re consuming media differently today than we did even five years ago, there remains the tactile love of something you can roll up and throw into a beach-bag and not worry about whether it’s going to survive the sand and water. As we travel into the dog days of summer, here’s a look at some of the best reading for relaxation.

What does that mean for magazines at retail? Like most things, and magazines in particular, they need to be seen to be sold. With all of the varied interests and options for magazines, it is difficult at times to give all of them front and center exposure. Exposure necessary to sell copies. Often magazines that may not be as well known, or may not appeal to the person displaying them, may get relegated to the back. Lucky for some of these magazines, however, they have a loyal following and fans will seek out the new issue.

Merchandising magazines at your store? Shaking up your magazine merchandising at times and changing up the display to include a slightly different variety of titles at the front of any rack, while still keeping within category, could spark shopper interest. Typically, when changing the display, the old magazine will come out and its replacement is merchandised in the exact same spot. Visual change and interest suffers with this practice, however. By changing up what your shoppers see on the mainline may attract them and spark a new interest. It is just smart practice, therefore, to take out the older magazine within any category, move back remaining magazines that still have a few weeks on sale and place the new magazines in the front. You will gain more exposure for each title, create some new fans and likely gain more sales as a result.

 

Magazines Media Trends and What They Mean for Your Business

“Print is regaining its prestige. Every year FIPP finds innovations in the print space. Print offers strong journalism unavailable online. Private Eye, the UK satire magazine, is growing because it never embraced digital. Publications are creating new packaging for enhanced reader value. Brands are exploring higher quality premium products.” is a snippet from the recent Act 9 Experience conference discussing important trends in Magazine Media. Read the whole article by clicking here.  

Meredith Corporation Launches “Happy Paws” Magazine

April showers bring May flowers, but this April also sees the launch of a new print magazine!

It’s been no secret that many people are still naysayers of the physical magazine, but when a major publisher launches a new magazine, you know they are doing it with a lot of planning and forethought. They back winning products and this new magazine will be that also. Meredith magazines are some of the best-known home & lifestyle magazines at your store checkouts and mainlines everywhere. This newest publication “Happy Paws” will catch loads of eyes with its 100-page, high-quality first keepsake issue . Produced by Fear Free, a veterinarian-led organization, it is sure to have not only access to adorable animals, but the opportunity to publish articles that may be more fact-finding, and research driven as opposed to humanitarian short stories. As for Meredith’s decision to partner on the launch, Mortimer says that “We know that pet content is one of the best-selling categories in our Special Interest Media Group. We also know that pet coverage across our Meredith brands from People and Real Simple to Southern Living and Family Circle is extremely popular.” 1

Read more

Magazine Media Tells and Sells

Great new article from Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media… The Facts: “Magazine Media Tells and Sells” that has been posted on Magazines Canada website. Click here to view.

She was also interviewed by Mr. Magazine recently. Click here to read the interview.