ABC Report: Women's Lifestyle

Glamour's continuing sales success turns it into the UK's biggest-selling monthly title, Emma Barns writes. As predicted, Conde Nast's unstoppable Glamour has continued to dominate the magazine market and, as well as comfortably holding on to the top slot among the women's titles, it has beaten Emap's FHM to become the biggest-selling monthly UK magazine.

The handbag-sized title has recorded an increase of 4 per cent since January and, with an ABC of 605,747, it is now selling almost 150,000 more copies than its nearest rival, The National Magazine Company's Cosmopolitan.

Glamour's latest rise coincides with a continued downturn in the teen market, but Simon Kippin, its publisher, disagrees that this is where its new readers are coming from.

He says: "It's not about stealing from particular sectors, or even from existing titles such as Cosmopolitan. With a circulation of 605,000, new readers aren't all coming from the same place. We've moved the game on and keep bringing new people to the sector from all over."

Despite an overall increase in the women's market of 2.8 per cent year on year, NatMags' flagship title, Cosmopolitan, didn't feel the benefits.

It was down slightly by 1.2 per cent year on year.

In an attempt to reassert itself, Cosmo plans to reinvent itself, and innovations this year have included the roll-out of travel-sized copies.

Having seen some success, Jan Adcock, the publishing director, says this format will continue. She adds: "A long-term brand-building strategy is being developed and we are at the threshold of a new and very exciting time for Cosmopolitan."

NatMags' Good Housekeeping had a slight rise in circulation over the period and an impressive year-on-year rise. It kept its third-place position in the sector.

IPC's Marie Claire performed well and clawed its way back from an almost double-digit drop last period by recording a 5.5 per cent increase.

The title is also undergoing a revamp, but Jackie Newcombe, its publishing director, says that the turnaround in fortunes pre-dates the changes in the September issue. "Our success in these ABCs has been largely down to more marketing activity and to the way the editorial team has started on the process of updating and modernising the magazine's content," she says.

The older, thirtysomething market also recorded healthy growth and IPC's InStyle added close to 3,000 readers, overtaking NatMags' She.

BBC Magazines' Eve was the fastest- growing women's glossy for the third consecutive period, seeing 14.4 per cent year-on-year growth. Jessica Gibson, the associate publishing director of Eve, admits that its heavy covermounting contributed to this, but was not solely responsible, adding: "Subscriptions have tripled since Eve's relaunch in 2002, so it's not just about promotions."

Performances from Hachette Filipacchi's Elle and Red were also stable with both posting slight period-on-period growth.

Julie Harris, the general manager of Hachette's women's group, says: "This market is great if you can get it right. It's very lucrative and is supported well by advertisers. Red is really getting into its stride and this year, despite focusing on organic growth and not doing any TV, we have still registered an increase."

The story was not so good for Hachette's younger title, B, where sales were down by almost a quarter. However, the magazine has received considerable investment over the past few months and Harris is expecting this to have an impact in the next set of ABCs.

H Bauer's Real posted a disappointing result and, having been up nearly 14 per cent last period, saw its circulation down 0.6 per cent for the past six months. There is much speculation that the title faces closure and with H Bauer's investment set to focus on its new men's weekly, Cut, this is looking increasingly likely.

Verdict With various launches in the offing, the women's market is poised for expansion over the next year. Harris says: "There's enough elasticity in the older market for it to grow." And with this area the target of Conde Nast's Easy Living launch, all eyes will be on it to see if it can emulate the success of Glamour.


TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period- Yr-on-yr

on-period % change

% change

Glamour Conde Nast 605,747 4.00 5.00

Cosmopolitan NatMags 456,447 -0.90 -1.20

Good Housekeeping NatMags 417,893 0.50 4.40

Yours Emap 413,855 2.50 7.10

Marie Claire IPC 380,760 5.50 1.10

Prima NatMags 330,179 0.00 0.00

Company NatMags 325,185 -1.70 -1.60

Candis Newhall 315,803 3.00 13.00

Woman & Home IPC 303,701 2.80 7.30

New Woman Emap 290,913 0.10 5.50

Vogue Conde Nast 205,320 0.10 1.50

Real H Bauer 204,455 -0.60 13.20

Elle (UK) Hachette Filipacchi 201,469 0.10 0.30

Red Hachette Filipacchi 197,263 0.30 3.90

InStyle UK IPC 190,102 1.60 6.10

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations, January-June 2004.


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