Fairchild Scales Back Plans for WWD.com, Postpones Launch

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In yet another sign of the troubled economy, Fairchild Publications Inc. yesterday announced that it will not launch WWD.com on Sept. 10 as scheduled.


The site was to have become the online version of Women's Wear Daily, the market leader in fashion trades. Individual subscriptions would have cost $895 a year and three-month trials $295, though site license fees and group discounts for multiple subscriptions would have lowered the price.


"We are proud of the sophisticated business resource and tools that we have developed for the fashion, beauty and retail industries," Mary G. Berner, Fairchild president/CEO, said in a statement. "That said, given the current business climate and market conditions, we are putting the project on hold.


"When the timing is right, we look forward to building on what the WWD.com team has done to establish an Internet presence that fits with Fairchild's business strategies," Berner said.


This decision comes only a couple of months after Fairchild sacked 13 WWD.com tech employees and two from editorial. Advance.net, the online arm of Fairchild owner Advance Publications Inc., has assumed tech responsibilities.


WWD.com was to have relied on sponsorship packages, some in conjunction with other Women's Wear Daily products, though subscriptions were to have been the mainstay.


In fact, a senior executive at Fairchild's online division told a leading marketing paper that subscriptions in "four-digits" had already been sold to marketers like Versace, Burberry, Goldman Sachs & Co., and Bear, Stearns & Co.


For now, WWD.com is a basic site, offering links to other Fairchild titles like Jane, W and Material World, advertising information and virtually no news of the fashion retail business.


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