Vogue's Bleak SeptemberS

Ah, the September Issues—when fashion magazines sell more ads than any other month, and staffers gorge themselves on parsley, in celebration. How are the September ad sales looking this year? Not too fab. Especially for Vogue.

Last year's September issues came just as the recession was hitting its stride. Still, ad pages were gargantuan (though not as gargantuan as the preceding year): Vogue sold 674 pages, nearly a quarter of its ad pages for the full year, in September 2008 (pictured).

Now it's almost time for fashion mags to tell the world how they did this year! It will be bad. But maybe not as bad as March, the other big ad sales month, which was really bad! Elle tells Ad Age that its ad pages are down 21% for this September, versus a 28% drop in March. Harper's Bazaar says it'll be down by about 25% in September. Essence says it's down 16%. And Vogue, the big daddy of them all...isn't telling. Which does not sound promising:

Vogue declined to comment for this report, but recently told the New York Post that its September issue would top 400 ad pages. Landing at 400 exactly would mean a 41% decline from last September. Getting to 450, one rumor going around, would mean a 33% drop. March, by comparison, fell 25%.

Well, the first quarter and the second quarter were hell for Conde Nast, so why should the third quarter be any different? Such bad timing for a documentary.

[Ad Age]