But, on the whole, the market performed solidly with glossy monthlies showing resilience in the face of competition from the weekly sector.
The National Magazine Company's Good Housekeeping recorded impressive gains, moving it above sister title Cosmopolitan into second place in the sector. Its strong performance and the sales growth of Hachette Filipacchi's Psychologies and IPC's Essentials showed that there is growth to be had in the 35-plus demographic. Despite falling behind Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan recorded its highest sales figures for four ABC periods to put a spring in the step of NatMags executives.
Duncan Edwards, the chief executive of NatMags, says: "It was difficult to hold in our excitement over the last few months. It's been disappointing that the press covering the trade have made out that the magazine medium is having a tough time. We're not - we've been quietly getting on with doing our job."
"Our big monthlies have been steady. It's monthly magazines that have tried to be like weeklies that have not performed well," he concludes.
The market leader, Glamour from Conde Nast, kept its position, but it still felt the pinch from the weeklies. While the title was down on the year, Glamour's publishing director, Simon Kippin, maintains the weekly sector is no longer a threat.
"Glamour is down a bit year on year, but UK sales are up by 5 per cent on the period. We've been around for six years and we've had huge rises over that time, so there is bound to be a settling-down period. We've had that and now Glamour is in good health." Kippin believes it is now the weekly sector's turn to fend off competition from free newspapers with a celebrity focus.
IPC's high-street fashion weekly Look, which entered the market with an impressive positioning, saw a decline. Its rival More, owned by Bauer Consumer Media, was significantly down after converting from a fortnightly to a weekly. However, Bauer Consumer Media's fashion weekly Grazia continued to enjoy a healthy rise in sales, if not on the scale of its previous gains.
A drop for Yours, also owned by Bauer Consumer Media, which switched from a monthly to fortnightly in February, showed titles at the younger end of the market are facing tough competition.
Vanessa Clifford, the head of press at MindShare, points to this competition as a contributing factor in the likely closure of Bauer Consumer Media's New Woman and First. She says: "That slightly younger end is where the impact of the weeklies has hit hardest. The problem with New Woman was that they kept mucking about with the editorial. They went really celebrity focused and then changed back again, but at that stage it was too late."
Conde Nast's Vogue recorded its twelfth consecutive ABC rise, proving the enduring appeal of the fashion brand. Its sister titles Vanity Fair and Tatler also saw small rises. IPC's Woman & Home posted its highest circulation in ten years, while an inc-rease in sales for NatMags' She showed it is still reaping the benefits of an ext-ensive relaunch two years ago. Haymarket's Eve had a strong second half of 2007 with a period-on-period inc-rease of 3 per cent.
Verdict The general consensus is that women's monthlies, especially the mature titles, are staying relatively strong in the face of an overcrowded weekly sector. Investment in editorial is hailed as the key to healthy sales, whereas continuous relaunching has proved more of a death-knell than a panacea.
Title Publisher Total ABC Period-on- Year-on-
% change % change
Glamour Conde Nast 550,066 1.0 -6.5
Good Housekeeping NatMags 464,041 6.6 0.1
Cosmopolitan NatMags 460,276 2.1 1.0
Woman & Home IPC Media 336,022 4.7 6.3
Marie Claire IPC Media 330,182 -0.8 -1.4
Yours Bauer Consumer 327,072 -5.0 -14.7
Look* IPC Media 305,603 -4.2 n/a
Candis Newhall 300,147 -0.7 -0.4
Prima NatMags 290,118 -3.3 -7.9
Company NatMags 250,075 -5.5 -5.3
Grazia* Bauer Consumer
Media 227,083 3.2 8.0
Filipacchi 224,208 -0.4 0.1
Vogue Conde Nast 220,325 0.1 0.6
Elle (UK) Hachette
Filipacchi 203,435 0.1 -2.7
More* Bauer Consumer
Media 200,033 -23.2 -26.4
Easy Living Conde Nast 196,150 -2.0 -2.0
InStyle UK IPC Media 179,558 0.5 -1.3
She NatMags 176,024 4.1 16.0
Eve Haymarket 168,270 3.0 -2.4
Filipacchi 140,162 7.7 21.5
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations, July-December 2007 *per week.