WH Smith, the UK's largest magazine retailer, is to take on
publishers with the launch of three bi-monthly titles.
The magazines, produced by John Brown Publishing, WH Smith's custom
publisher, will launch into the fitness and health, family and money and
They will compete with titles such as Zest and Men's Health.
The November launch issues will retain the Total Guides branding used by
WH Smith for its ongoing series of one-shot titles. However, this will
have been replaced by independent cover designs in time for the
follow-up January issues. January will also see the start of a marketing
drive that is likely to include above-the-line advertising.
Editors for the three titles are likely to be appointed within the next
month, with John Brown promising high-profile names with consumer title
Simon Hamer, the launch ad manager of Men's Health, who joined John
Brown in August, has been appointed as the group advertising manager for
the bi-monthlies. John Brown's managing director, Dean Fitzpatrick, said
that Hamer's appointment would signal a more aggressive approach to
selling the titles. "Once we decided to move on to this stage we needed
somebody who would give us credibility in the marketplace," he said.
"Advertising and commercial opportunities will be developed."
WH Smith has claimed that in-store sales of several of its one-off
guides outperformed those of leading consumer rivals, including the
health market leader, Top Sante.
"This is just the start of our publishing aspirations," WH Smith's news
and express business unit director, John Simpson, said. "We've plans to
become a significant force in the market over the next few years."