Poor forecast for women's titles

Next month's ABC figures predicted to show a difficult six months for the women's lifestyle sector.

Next month's magazine Audit Bureau of Circulations figures are expected to show that the women's lifestyle sector has had a difficult six months at the newsstand.

Total sales in the market will be down year on year and period on period for the six months from January to June.

However, the market leader, Conde Nast's Glamour, will post a small sales increase on its 585,984 circulation, bouncing back from a sales decline in the previous period.

Its competitors, including Elle and Cosmopolitan, are expected to show small circulation declines.

Sources suggest that the hardest-hit titles will be Emap's New Woman and IPC's Marie Claire, which are both expected to show a double- digit year-on-year percentage fall in their circulations.

However, Emap's Grazia, which is positioned as the first weekly glossy, will show an annual double-digit percentage growth and a single-digit period-on-period uplift on its sale of 170,783. Emap is also keen to preserve the title's high percentage of ABC1 readers.

Titles targeting an older readership are expected to have performed better than those at the younger end of the market. Conde Nast's Easy Living is expected to post a significant rise in year- on-year circulation and Haymarket's Eve is tipped to show an 11 per cent year-on-year sales rise. Red and She are expected to be stable, but sales at Good Housekeeping are likely to have fallen.

Publishers said they are increasingly turning to subscription sales and overseas sales in a bid to compensate for the declining newsstand performance.

Sources suggest sales in the women's weekly sector have been more robust, with many of the leading titles, including Heat and Closer, showing growth. The market has been buoyed by a series of launches blending "real life" stories with celebrity coverage.

The men's market is expected to have had another tough six months, with the high weekly sales of Nuts and Zoo offset by sales declines among monthly magazines including FHM, Maxim and Loaded. Emap is relaunching FHM in a bid to turn around its fortunes. However, while its circulation is expected to dip below the 500,000 mark, it will retain its number-one slot in the men's market.

Comment, page 48.

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