No clear winner for Portfolio magazine cover designs

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Stephanie Smith of Women’s Wear Daily writes Friday that conceptual covers and covers with CEOs on them seem to perform equally well for business glossy Conde Nast Portfolio.

Conde Nast PortfolioSmith writes, “Sources close to Portfolio estimated that both the February issue with a condiment-packed burger on the cover and the July one with Starbucks founder Howard Schultz have been the strongest sellers thus far in 2008, selling around 29,000 copies each. The January cover of a model dressed as a spy and the April issue with a pale woman’s leg in a red high heel sold just about as many copies as Portfolio’s June issue with IAC/InterActive Corp.’s Barry Diller, or about 25,000 copies on average. The August issue featured another portrait — of Countrywide co-founder Angelo Mozilo — but estimates of its sales aren’t yet available.

“While the figures don’t indicate a clear winner — billionaire over burger, say — sources said Portfolio plans to stick with portraits on its covers for the foreseeable future. September’s issue features NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker.

“And it isn’t like Portfolio’s newsstand figures pale in comparison to those of its competition. Business magazines in general aren’t stellar newsstand performers (does the average person even know, or care, who Meredith Whitney, this month’s Fortune cover girl, is?).”

Read more here.