Friday, February 6, 2009

Wall Street Journal Shuts Down Retail & Luxury Bureau

As the economy continues to hit the fashion industry, the latest victims are well-regarded fashion journalists.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal announced that it will close its Retail & Luxury bureau, and reduce its full-time staff from nine people to five. Columnist Christina Binkley and the group's editor, Lisa Bannon will stay on. Sources have told that the renown fashion journalist, Teri Agins, who has been with the Journal for 23 years, is out while other staffers have been asked to apply for the remaining three positions per union rules. No definitive word on whether or not the Journal's fashion blog, Heard On The Runway, will remain. reports:
"For the last three years, the Journal has been building up its retail and luxury coverage group and trying to court that advertising," said one senior Journal writer who is close to the group. "But maybe now they feel that for the next year or 18 months, luxury advertising won't come through--and besides there's the new WSJ. magazine, which is courting the same advertising territory."
This could not have come at a more inopportune time. New York Fashion Week starts next week, with the London, Paris and Milan Fall '09 shows following on its heels. Who's going to cover the shows? With a staff of FIVE that's going to be impossible.

I'm not buying the excuse of the lack of luxury advertising. Yes, the luxury sector is going through a slump right now, but it's also the first sector in the retail industry to bounce back. Besides, luxury is on the verge of reinventing itself (which, ironically, was covered in an article by Ms. Agins in last week's Journal), and that metamorphosis needs to be covered thoroughly, and quite frankly, the WSJ. magazine is not the vehicle for that. If anything should have been eliminated, it's the WSJ. magazine which has not lived up to its supposed purpose, in my opinion. The Robb Report it is not.

No comments: