ABC figures show magazines sales starting to slow down

LONDON - The battle for leadership of the women's monthly magazine market has intensified further with Cosmopolitan expected to record a healthy increase in sales.

ABC circulation figures, published later today, are said to show Cosmopolitan, published by The National Magazine Company, bouncing back from a fall in sales after the test of a smaller format in the South East.

Conde Nast's Glamour, the market-leading women's monthly, will maintain a significant lead over Cosmopolitan after posting single-digit percentage growth on its previous circulation of 576,832. However, Cosmopolitan is expected to challenge Glamour by rolling out its smaller format nationwide later this year.

Glamour's sale is expected to be just shy of 600,000, close to that of the UK's leading monthly FHM, which is said to have a flat circulation of a little more than 600,000.

Sales in the celebrity weekly sector have slowed down. The best-selling celebrity title, Now, is expected to maintain its lead despite a flat sale just below 600,000. Its main challenger, Heat, is said to have posted a 2% increase in sales to around 577,000.

The best performer in the celebrity sector is expected to be Emap's Closer with a 15% rise to around 385,000 sales.

FHM's flat sale seems typical of the men's monthly sector. IPC's Loaded, the second best-selling title, is set to post a slight increase in sales on the previous six months but sales will be down year on year.

Emap's Arena is likely to be the star performer in the men's sector, adding around 40,000 to its circulation, a 30 per cent increase.

The launch of the men's weeklies Nuts and Zoo Weekly is expected to dent sales of the men's monthlies in the next set of results.

Emap's Zoo has early sales of around 150,000 while IPC sources said Nuts sales were "comfortably ahead" of 150,000. IPC is committed to the issue of an ABC figure for sales of Nuts between January and June.

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