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Edward Enninful's British Vogue helps swing Conde Nast back into profit in 2018

Magazine publisher Conde Nast has swung back into the black with a pre-tax profit of £2.7m in 2018 following a loss of £13.5m the year before.

The GQ, Vogue and Vanity Fair publisher put its change in fortunes down to strong digital revenue and traffic growth across its online brands, particularly at British Vogue under Edward Enninful.

Enninful (pictured) replaced Alexandra Shulman as the British fashion bible’s editor in 2017, becoming both the first man and the first person of colour to take on the job in the title’s 100-year history.

In its 2018 accounts, published on Companies House this week, Conde Nast managing director Albert Read said 2018 had seen a “continuation of investment and growth across digital and events”.

In 2017 £5.7m of the company’s losses were attributed to business restructuring, which was kept to £1.5m last year.

Conde Nast reported a turnover of £104.6m in 2018, down 8 per cent from £113.5m in 2017.

It said the closure of Glamour’s monthly print edition accounted for a “large part of the revenue decline”. The women’s fashion magazine now prints twice a year as it focuses on being a “beauty first, mobile first, millennial focused brand” online.

Overall Read said 2018 was a “strong year” for the company “with positive performance across the entire business leading into 2019”.

He said underlying operating profit before tax was £11.4m “which is a significant increase from [the] prior year”.

The publisher said its overall digital traffic had grown by 7.8 per cent in 2018, to 14.8m monthly unique users.

It also said performance for most of its brands’ combined print and digital circulation was consistent, with highlights including a 1.1 per cent print circulation growth at British Vogue under Enninful and 1.2 per cent increase at Tatler under new editor Richard Dennen.

The number of editorial staff at the publisher fell from 227 in 2017 to 180, with overall staff costs falling from £47.2m to £37.5m.

Company directors received £3.6m in remuneration, up from £2.4m in 2017.

Looking ahead, Conde Nast said it remains “well positioned in the premium market” due to a “continued focus on creativity and quality”.

But it noted the impact of Brexit on the retail climate and said consumer purchasing power remains uncertain.

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