Martha Stewart Living Widens 3Q Loss Amid Print Struggles

By FOXBusiness

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE:MSO) fell nearly 3% to a 52-week low of $2.75 on Friday after the media company revealed a widened third-quarter loss and softer sales.

The New York-based company, which has been reeling under dwindling print ad sales, said the loss reflected a $44.3 million charge related to the write-down of its publishing group, as well as weaker broadcasting revenues.

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Total operating loss during the quarter widened to $50.7 million from a loss of just $9.3 million a year ago, while earnings per share fell to a loss of 76 cents from a year-earlier 18-cent loss.

Revenues declined to $43.5 million from $52.2 million in 2011.

Analysts had been calling for an 11-cent loss on sales of $46 million.

The announcement came a day after Martha Stewart Living said it would shut two of its four magazines and lay off 12% of its 600-person workforce, as the publishing segment continues to struggle under weak advertising revenues.

Martha Stewart Living CEO Lisa Gersh said the company expects to see benefits from its aggressive overhaul measures starting in 2013.

“Our performance in the quarter was in line with our expectations but not our ambitions for the company,” Gersh said. “We have taken actions designed to significantly reduce the cost structure of our print and broadcasting operations this year, an important step toward positioning MSLO for profitable growth. Overall we believe we have made significant progress in executing our strategy.”

The company is also transitioning its content operations to digital, mobile and video platforms in an effort to lower fixed costs and better align with customer preferences.