Web merchants Gilt Groupe and HSN made similar moves last year.
Stefany Zaroban , Associate Director of Research
In another sign that magazines and e-commerce are intersecting online, a major European web retailer has entered the magazine business. United Kingdom-based retail chain Sports Direct International Plc today announced it had launched Sportsdirect.com magazine, a monthly publication that will focus on sport and fitness.
Sports Direct, No. 94 in the recently published Internet Retailer Europe 500, says the print publication will build upon the merchant’s existing media presence, which includes an online news outlet dubbed SportsDirect News that debuted in May.
“We want the brand to become synonymous with great sporting stories and expert fitness advice,” says associate director of marketing Vinny Smith. “We’re engaging with customers to provide even more value by sharing our shortcuts to help them get fitter, play better and look great.”
Consumers can buy the the monthly publication in Sports Direct stores and soon via a tablet application, which will allow readers to shop from the magazine’s editorial pages, the merchant says. The seller of sporting gear and apparel operates more than 470 stores in the U.K., Ireland, France and other European countries.
Sports Direct follows the lead of other online merchants that have made editorial content a larger part of their e-commerce personality. Flash-sale merchant Gilt Groupe Inc., for instance, launched a luxury lifestyle magazine called Du Jour in March 2012. About a month before that, web and TV merchant HSN Inc. debuted the House Beautiful Marketplace portion of its e-commerce site; the venture includes product recommendations from editorial staffers.
Magazines and e-commerce have moved closer together in other ways, too. In March, for example, publisher Condé Nast invested $20 million in U.K.-based farfetch.com, an e-commerce marketplace for independent fashion boutiques.
Gilt Groupe is No. 54 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. HSN is No. 24.