The celebrity weekly, which launched in October, is thought to be recording average sales figures of 150,000, dipping to 130,000. This compares with Emap's Closer, which saw a January to June ABC of 480,187, up from 334,000 in 2003 and which is now expected to creep over the 500,000 mark this time.
One agency press director said: "I'm not willing to run any more ads in the magazine, as their refusal to give out any figures can only mean that it i doing badly. It's been going four months, which is enough time for them to give us a steer. It is especially contradictory in the light of The National Magazine Company providing monthly sales data for its other titles."
Last November, NatMags announced it would provide unaudited, monthly sales figures for all its titles to increase transparency in the market.
The ABCs, published at the end of this week, are expected to reveal that Loaded has fallen again and Maxim is set to overtake it for the first time. Following a 10.2 per cent year-on-year decline in the last ABCs, Loaded is now expected to see a further 10 per cent to 15 per cent decrease.
However, the title is already developing its fightback strategy and is relaunching in the summer. The magazine is expected to adopt a less salacious positioning and will include new sections on fashion, gaming and real life, while black-and-white centrefolds will also be introduced.
Men's weeklies are again set to perform well, although IPC's market-leader, Nuts, is expected to take a knock, while Emap's Zoo will increase its circulation, narrowing the current 90,000 gap.
The women's monthly market is set to record a strong set of results; marketing campaigns, covermounts and price cuts across the sector have contributed to increases for all the major titles. This
includes Condé Nast's Glamour, NatMags' Cosmopolitan, IPC's Marie Claire and Hachette Filipacchi's Red.
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