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People Magazine Halts Store Plans

March 5, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) _ People magazine is putting aside an ambitious plan to open a retail store and exhibit space in midtown Manhattan, citing a slowdown in the economy.

The store, dubbed Inside People, had originally been set to open last December in a prime location in the first floor of the Time & Life building, just across the street from Radio City Music Hall.

But an economic slowdown and the resulting squeeze on advertising revenues led the magazine to reconsider the project, which was the brainchild of Ann Moore, president of the highly successful People magazine group.

The magazine said in a statement that it was putting the plan on hold ``due to the current economic climate,″ but it declined to comment further. It’s was not immediately clear what will happen to the large retail site, which used to house a branch of Chase Manhattan.

The pullback shows that not even the most successful media properties are immune from the broad cost-cutting drives that are affecting the industry. People’s corporate parent Time Inc., a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc., has already had its share of layoffs and other belt-tightening measures.

People has by far the highest advertising revenues of any magazine, pulling in $723.7 million last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, a magazine industry group. The People group overseen by Moore also includes Teen People, InStyle, People en Espanol, Parenting and Real Simple.

Executives at People had seen the retail space as an opportunity to build loyalty to the magazine’s brand with celebrity appearances and exhibits of artifacts such as pictures from celebrity weddings.

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