ABC: Women's Lifestyle

All eyes in the women's lifestyle sector were on the two high-profile launches from Emap and Conde Nast. Backed by big spends, both titles made their presence felt and recorded respectable debut ABCs.

Emap's Grazia has shown its critics that the weekly glossy proposition can work. It posted a sales figure of 155,157 copies, exceeding its target of 150,000 copies.

David Davies, the managing director of Grazia, says: "Everyone is talking about Grazia. Fiona McIntosh's vision for a British weekly glossy is proving to be exactly what upscale consumers are looking for."

The other debutante, Easy Living, has also met its targets, recording an ABC of 171,038 copies. Nicholas Coleridge, Conde Nast's managing director, says: "Easy Living's first figure is above expectation."

The launches have had a knock-on effect on other titles. The threat from Easy Living spurred The National Magazine Company's Good Housekeeping into action. Its relaunch resulted in a mighty 13.9 per cent leap in sales year on year and its new 475,838 circulation has knocked Cosmopolitan off the number-two spot.

Good Housekeeping has been showing steady growth for the past few ABC periods and its group publishing director, Liz Kershaw, is not surprised by this recent success.

"I've always known we could build these sales. I worked on this magazine before, when we pushed sales to more than 500,000, and I'm sure we can do it again," she says, adding: "We're offering 83 years of heritage and a really good value-for-money package."

Conde Nast's Glamour appears to have reached its peak, recording its first ever drop in sales. It was down 1.7 per cent on the period. Cosmopolitan failed to capitalise on this, experiencing a 3.2 per cent fall on the period to 462,943 copies.

IPC Media's Marie Claire fared better, recording a small fall of 0.8 per cent. Sandy Whetton, IPC SouthBank's managing director, thinks the drop is to be expected because the two launches were bound to affect sales in the sector. "With two multimillion-pound launches and a downturn in the high street, the women's glossies sector has become increasingly challenging," he says.

Julie Harris, the general manager of Hachette Filipacchi UK's women's group, adds: "The market faces a deluge of launches and aggressive price-cutting strategies."

Her own titles have fared well in this period's ABCs. B and Red both showed double-figure growth year on year and slight growth period on period.

Elle was also up marginally.

Haymarket Publishing's Eve posted 1.2 per cent period-on-period growth and an 8 per cent year-on-year increase. The publisher expects further growth in the next six months. Eve's publishing director, Jo Morrell, says: "It's been a busy six months, with a new editor, new owner and a new look. This ABC is a resounding success and consolidates our position."

She and Company experienced drastic declines in sales. The former was down a massive 17 per cent. In response, NatMags is planning a complete overhaul of the magazine's design and position in October.

Another magazine, Hachette's Psychologies, will join the women's sector this autumn, with its launch scheduled for next month.

"The next 12 months are going to be very exciting because we are launching a completely new type of women's magazine, Psychologies, into the market to create a new 'positive living' sector," Harris says.

Verdict: The women's lifestyle market is profitable and in good health.

With launches expected by the end of the year, it is likely to remain this way. However, publishers of the more traditional monthlies must continue to invest and innovate to stave off competition from new entrants.

WOMEN'S LIFESTYLE TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period-on- Year-on- period year % change % change Glamour Conde Nast 609,626 -1.7 0.6 Good Housekeeping NatMags 475,838 9.4 13.9 Cosmopolitan NatMags 462,943 -3.2 1.4 Yours Emap 440,070 0.3 6.3 Marie Claire IPC 381,281 -0.8 0.1 Woman & Home IPC 327,554 -1.5 7.9 Prima NatMags 326,231 2.8 -1.2 Candis Newhall 319,914 -0.4 1.3 Company NatMags 302,127 -9.2 -7.1 New Woman Emap 270,686 -3.5 -7.0 Red Hachette Filipacchi 219,082 4.3 11.1 Vogue Conde Nast 210,333 1.7 2.4 Elle (UK) Hachette Filipacchi 203,584 0.7 1.0 Real Essential 201,921 2.5 -1.2 InStyle UK IPC 196,568 2.9 3.4 Easy Living Conde Nast 171,038 n/a n/a B Hachette Filipacchi 167,371 0.7 30.6 Eve Haymarket 162,077 1.2 8.0 Grazia Emap 155,157 n/a n/a She NatMags 148,262 -17.7 -18.2 Source Audit Bureau of Circulations, January-June 2005.