Monday 10 May 2021 12:17 pm

Town & Country UK magazine to close as publisher Hearst slashes jobs

Town & Country UK magazine is set to fold as part of cost-cutting operation at publisher Hearst that will see up to a fifth of UK staff made redundant.

The luxury title, the British version of which was first published in 2014, is set to be scrapped as the company adapts to a decline in print media consumption.

The proposed move will also mean up to one in five UK staff face redundancy or will have their roles pooled. It is understood employees will be offered enhanced redundancy packages.

Hearst, whose UK titles include Cosmopolitan, Elle, Men’s Health and Good Housekeeping, has so far weathered the pandemic without making job cuts or using the furlough scheme.

But in a memo to staff last week, first reported by Press Gazette, the publisher said it had been forced to make the cuts after Covid-19 accelerated the shift to digital.

“Our well-diversified and stable parent company has enabled us to stand by our employees through the worst of the health crisis by protecting jobs and benefits,” a Hearst Magazines spokesperson said.

“While our path to the future has not changed, the pandemic has accelerated trends in consumer behavior and media consumption and we need to further transform our organisation to better serve our audience and advertisers and invest in growth areas.”

The proposed changes mean UK staff will be expected to work more closely with US colleagues as the organisation looks to cut down total job numbers.

Hearst has also offered severance packages to all of its sales and marketing staff in the US, warning that it will impose involuntary cuts if not enough employees accept the offer.

It comes as news organisations have been left reeling by the impact of the pandemic, which sparked a collapse in the advertising market and dented circulation.

London-listed publisher Reach, which owns the Mirror and Express titles, axed 550 jobs last year as a result of the crisis. Last week it issued an upbeat update for first-quarter trading, saying its ongoing shift to digital had been “encouraging”.