Market leader plans new launches in women's weekly sector

- Despite facing a tough fight on its hands in the women's weeklies market, the sector's market leader IPC Magazines has said that it is looking to launch new titles in the sector next year.

- Despite facing a tough fight on its hands in the women's weeklies market, the sector's market leader IPC Magazines has said that it is looking to launch new titles in the sector next year.

Linda Lancaster-Gaye, managing director of IPC's women's weeklies group, confirmed that the company was working on new launches which were likely to concentrate on the older teen market, which Eva is struggling to address. She said: "We have spent the last few months focusing on the core brand values of our portfolio. Now we can start to think about other launch potential."

She remained bullish about IPC's results, which showed a massive dip for Eva of over 29 per cent year and year and period on period to 152,800, while Now was down 12 per cent period on period to 306,501.

Lancaster-Gaye claimed that, following Eva's repositioning in February from a tabloid style magazine to a glossy title for girls in their late teens, it would be unreasonable to compare the magazine's performance with its previous incarnation.

IPC has set targets this year to stabilise sales of Chat (down three per cent year on year to 482,143), Woman (down 7.5 per cent) and Now by the end of the year. Lancaster-Gaye said: "The women's market is not in long term decline. It is highly competitive but the ongoing opportunity is real and significant. We are not quite there yet, but we are going back to basics and we are looking at the core focus of our relationships."

Both Hello magazine and Northern & Shell's OK! Weekly suffered period on period declines to 506,027 and 214,162 respectively, but year on year OK! jumped a massive 50 per cent compared to Hello's more stately 1.6 per cent.

Tim Kirkman, press director at Carat, said: "They would be crazy to launch into the women' market. We've seen it decline for the last two or three years. It's in constant decline in a market where national newspapers are adding more value to their packages."



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