Martha Stewart Living to Lay Off 12% of Workforce, Cut Back Magazines

The layoffs and printing cutbacks are expected to save the company between $33 million and $35 million a year

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia began laying off employees and will cut back the printing of two magazines, the company announced Thursday.

Getty ImagesAbout 12 percent of the staff — about 70 employees — were pink-slipped Thursday afternoon, ahead of the company's Friday morning quarterly earnings call, a person with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

"It's part of a shift to digital, with more short form video," the person told TheWrap.

The media group will cut in half the printing schedule of the magazine Everyday Food, from 10 times a year to five, delivering the magazine as a supplement to its flagship publication Martha Stewart Living.

The company will also put Whole Living up for sale.

Everyday Food has a 1.09 million circulation, down from more than 1.1 million last year according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. But it has lost nearly $1 million since last year, according to the Association of Magazine Media.

Whole Living, with its circulation of 760,606, has been shedding advertising pages, too. If the magazine is not sold, the person told TheWrap, it will stop printing by year's end and fold its content into Martha Stewart Living.

"We have taken decisive action to drive the company's return to sustainable profitability, in part by reducing our costs for production and distribution and in part by creating even more engagement with our audiences, and better and more valuable opportunities for our advertisers," Lisa Gersh, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Executives estimated that the layoffs and cutbacks would save the company $33 million to $35 million a year.

Many of the laid-off employees learned of their pink slips through emails and phone calls, as Martha Stewart Living's downtown Manhattan offices have been closed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"All these initiaties underscore the natural evolution of our great brands," Martha Stewart, the founder and non-executive chairwoman, said in a press release announcing the digital shift. "We have long embraced technology as a driver of innovation and creativity, and by expanding our digital presence, we are able to connect with our audiences and share all that we do in wonderfully rich new ways."