Tag Archives: Southern Living at Home

‘Biggest mass firing’ in 2009 coming to Southern Progress, Time Inc.

Next week likely to determine who goes at Birmingham operation

southern-progress-corp-logoTime Inc. plans to cut 6 percent of its 9,000-member workforce before Thanksgiving, according to a report today in the New York Post. Its Birmingham-based Southern Progress is expected to dole out pink slips as soon as Thursday, say company insiders. Time Inc. will release third quarter earnings on Wednesday.

The scale of the layoffs means Time Inc. holds the distinction of the biggest mass firing in publishing this year, outpacing the 460-plus involuntary terminations at rival Condé Nast.

As previously reported, Southern Progress has cut 41.4 percent of its Birmingham staff in the past 12 months, eliminating 290 positions. However, this quarter’s cuts are expected to go deeper …

The Birmingham, Ala.-based Southern Progress, whose flagship title is Southern Living, escaped major hits in the round of layoffs unveiled in the fourth quarter of last year. The division … will not be so lucky this time around, sources predicted.

Southern Progress also oversees Cooking Light, Health, Coastal Living and Sunset magazines and Myhomeideas.com and Myrecipes.com. It closed Cottage Living and Southern Accents magazines and sold Southern Living at Home.

Time Inc. cut 6 percent of its 10,000-member workforce in 2008. All Southern Progress titles lost ad revenue between the third quarter of 2008 and 2009.

Read more stories on Southern Progress.

Update Nov. 3: The New York Times reports Time Inc. has begun layoffs at Sports Illustrated, and that layoff meetings begin Wednesday morning at other titles.

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Southern Progress: 41.4 percent staff reduction in 11 months


Summer was a brutal season for Southern Progress.

After laying off 200 of its 700 employees during the fourth quarter of 2008 — a 28.6 percent cut — the Birmingham-based Time Inc. operation / magazine publisher shed 90 positions total this summer.

Southern Progress sold Southern Living at Home to Entertaining at Home in July, lightening the load by 70 employees (of whom 29 promptly were let go by the new owner earlier this month).

It also ceased publication on Southern Accents magazine, letting 20 staffers go.

With 90 positions cut from the 500 remaining, Southern Progress has tightened up staff by another 18 percent in the last 60 days, or 41.4 percent in the past 11 months.

So, at Southern Progress in the past 11 months:

  • 290 positions eliminated
  • 41.4 percent staff reduction
  • 2 magazines folded
  • 1 operation sold

The one bright spot: Southern Living’s circulation increased 1.35 percent in the first half of 2009, making it No. 19 among U.S. magazines (and No. 4 among Time Inc. titles). (Of course, Reader’s Digest declaring bankruptcy makes it actually No. 18 across the nation.)

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EXCLUSIVE: Southern Living at Home lays off 30 employees

southern-living-at-homeFollowing up on our post from earlier this month, the new Southern Living at Home is leaner and meaner. Media of Birmingham has learned that 30 of the company’s 60 employees were laid off Thursday, as part of its acquisition by Entertaining at Home.

Update: The Birmingham News reports 29 jobs were eliminated, leaving 41 on the payroll.

The Birmingham-based Southern Living at Home sells housewares through Tupperware-style parties, as part of Southern Progress Corporation. Departing employees will receive severance packages from Time Inc., not from the new corporate owner.

“The future looks extremely bright for us this fall as the contraction in our industry ends and we begin to transition to a period of expansion,” wrote Bill Shaw, president of Entertaining at Home, in an e-mail to staff members last week. “Our goal is to build a strong business with sustainable growth that creates jobs and we look forward to accomplishing that in the near future.”

The 30 29 laid-off employees comes on the heels of Southern Progress’ shutdown of Southern Accents magazine this month, putting 20 employees out of work.

The complete text of the e-mail …

From: Bill Shaw
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 2:45 PM
Subject: Email to all employees

When we acquired Southern Living At Home we were very open about the need to right-size the cost of infrastructure to match the size of revenue expected in 2009. We talked about combining two infrastructures into one more cost effective organization by eliminating jobs that were redundant, identifying jobs that would be required only during the integration transition and finally securing jobs that would be needed long-term. This has been an extremely difficult process for everyone involved, especially those of you that have waited patiently for us to complete our work. These decisions are the most difficult we’ve ever been required to make and we wanted to take as much time as possible to ensure we got it right. These decisions, as difficult as they may be are essential to immediately return us to stability and position us for growth. I’m deeply saddened by the reality that this Thursday we will be releasing a group of extraordinarily talented individuals into a difficult employment market. My consolation is knowing how obviously valuable these people will be to prospective new employers and that our Nation is beginning its economic recovery. In addition to the severance packages we will be awarding, I want every discharged employee to know that they can list me personally as a reference and I will commit to return all calls to prospective employers to ensure they understand the circumstances of the termination and how highly regarded each person is to our management.

Also, late this week we will sit down with the remaining employees to discuss the status of their continued employment so they can plan for their future. All remaining employees will have until the close of business on Monday, August 31, to submit resignations and receive their Time, Inc. equivalent severance package. If you choose to go forward and then decide to leave our employment voluntarily after September 1, 2009, you will not be eligible for a severance. Should your jobs be eliminated during the first year of our ownership of the company, either as part of a transitional layoff or for some other reason other than with cause, you will be eligible for the same Time, Inc. equivalent severance package.

There is a clear path to success with Southern Living at Home and our new combined business. The future looks extremely bright for us this fall as the contraction in our industry ends and we begin to transition to a period of expansion. Our goal is to build a strong business with sustainable growth that creates jobs and we look forward to accomplishing that in the near future.


Bill Shaw

Southern Living at Home sold to Wisconsin-based Entertaining at Home

southern-living-at-homeSpeaking of Southern Progress’ rapid shrinking, parent company Time Inc. has sold Birmingham-based Southern Living at Home to a Wisconsin firm, Entertaining at Home. Time had put the company up for sale in January.

A spinoff of the magazine, Southern Living at Home sells housewares through Tupperware-style parties. Bill Shaw helped launch the venture in 2001 and also helped create what would eventually become Entertaining at Home.

In a letter to consultants and sales agents, Shaw wrote:

“We will be one company for a while with two divisions separated only by name and product assortment. The simple truth is we need each other, and together we can once again lead an industry with an unrelenting commitment to excellence.”

Source: Birmingham News: “Southern Accents magazine closed by Time Inc., cutting 20 jobs in Birmingham”

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