According to figures published by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), Heat's average weekly circulation was 325,370 copies in the final six months of 2011, down 12.1% year on year, but flat (down -0.4%) compared to January to June 2011.
Executive editor Lucie Cave was acting editor at Heat during in the first six months of 2011, when the Bauer-owned weekly reported the highest drop in circulation of any of the women's weeklies. Closer had the second-steepest decline.
Cave was appointed as Heat's permanent editor in September 2011 and, alongside an improved performance from Closer, she helped Bauer to report steady results period on period in the final six months of 2011, ahead of the rest of the celebrity market.
Amy King, head of press investment at MPG Media Contacts, said: "Bauer Media has done well to stem the decline and maintain where they were six months ago, when Heat and Closer looked to be struggling. They have steadied the ship."
Closer had an average weekly circulation of 467,048 copies in the six months to the end of December 2011, down 6.3% year on year, but up 1.6% compared to the first six months of 2011.
Nicky Holt, publishing director of Heat and Closer at Bauer Media, said both magazines' results were "really positive, as both magazines are a premium price in the market and it's tough to fight for consumers' share of purchase".
She added: "Lucie has so much energy and enthusiasm for Heat and you can see that in the pages of the magazine. It had a redesign in October, but you can also see it improving week on week.
"While Heat reaches 2.6 million people every week across different platforms, Closer is more about the magazine. Editor Lisa Burrow leads a strong team and it's really nice to see them rewarded. Closer is about digging deep and telling the whole story."
Northern & Shell's celebrity magazines were less consistent. Its best result was at New! which continued to have the largest circulation in the sector (510,758), although this was down 9.2% year on year and down 1% period on period.
OK! magazine had an average weekly circulation of 388,472 copies, down 13.9% year on year and down 17.9% period on period, while Star had a weekly circulation of 359,583, which was down 16.4% year on year and down 11.4% period on period.
Hello!, which is published by Hello! Ltd, had an average weekly circulation of 373,226 in the final six months of 2011, down 8.0% year on year and down 9.7% compared to the first half of 2011.
IPC Media's Now reported the steepest circulation drop in the celebrity sector. Its average weekly circulation was 262,275 in the final six months of 2011, down 22.5% year on year and down 15.2% period on period.
King said: "There are too many titles in the celebrity market. People used to buy three or four weeklies, but that doesn't happen any more. OK! has struggled because there was no big Jordan wedding. Its circulation is driven by big events."
Follow Maisie McCabe on Twitter @MaisieMcCabe
|Top celebrity magazines|
|New!||Northern & Shell Magazines||510,758||-1.0%||-9.2%|
|Closer||Bauer Consumer Media||467,048||1.6%||-6.3%|
|OK! Magazine||Northern & Shell PLC||388,472||-17.9%||-13.9%|
|Star||Northern & Shell PLC||359,583||-11.4%||-16.4%|
|Heat||Bauer Consumer Media||325,370||-0.4%||-12.1%|