In an Instagram post, Lorraine Candy, who left Elle to become editor-in-chief of Style earlier this year, said: "The Sunday Times' Style reaches more AB women than Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar combined."
The figures are from TGI Premier Clickstream 2016, which show that Style has 458,000 AB females, Vogue has 240,000, Elle with 161,000 and Harper's Bazaar has 70,000.
However Stephen Quinn, publishing director at British Vogue, has contested Candy’s statement that Style reaches more AB women than Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar combined when looking at National Readership Survey data.
In a letter to media agency bosses this week, he said: "The net AB female readership of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar is 485,000, showing a 62,000 lead over The Sunday Times' Style which has 423,000 AB female readers (NRS Jan-Dec 2016). Vogue alone has an AB female audience of 379,000.
"The total net readership of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar is 1.6 million versus 1.2 million for The Sunday Times' Style. Condé Nast’s luxury women’s titles – Vogue, Tatler and Vanity Fair – have a total readership of 1.4 million."
He added that TGI Clickstream has a sample size of 6,576 compared with the "industry-wide standard for audience profile data" NRS which has a sample size of 28,006.
A source close to The Sunday Times said that Style uses TGI Premier "because it includes more premium brands and is a widely-used survey of AB adults and those earning more than £50,000".
Quinn also pointed to the Vogue Business Report, a survey conducted with YouGov, which found that 79% of people said they prefer monthly titles for fashion and beauty news, compared with 44% who use weekend supplements.
He added: "Importantly, the glossies deliver an audience that buys the brands and products that they see in the pages of their favourite magazines – for instance, 91% of the readers of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Tatler or Vanity Fair own designer fashion."
Earlier this year, also in a letter to media agencies, Candy noted that Style has 1.2 million readers. She was referring to NRS statistics between October 2015 and September 2016, average issue readership.
She added: "With unrivalled access to celebrity and key fashion talent, Style is poised to deliver exceptional new content across print and digital platforms; you should know 75% of Style readers do not read any other fashion and beauty title.
"The Times and The Sunday Times reach more households earning £150,000 than any other title and last year readers of The Sunday Times spent over £1.3bn on clothing."