The covers of Harper's Bazaar UK and Elle UK


LONDON — It’s the never-ending story: The print magazine business is about managing decline — with a few exceptions.

According to figures posted by U.K.’s Audit Bureau of Circulations on Thursday, the British women’s fashion magazine sector saw a decline in the first half, with titles including Glamour and Tatler experiencing drops in circulation.

The overall circulation figure for women’s fashion titles in Britain declined 3.9 percent year-over-year to 4.9 million for print and digital. Print circulation for the sector fell 4.2 percent, while digital circulation was up 18.4 percent.

Among the women’s titles that saw their combined digital and print circulations rise were Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, both published by Hearst Magazines U.K. For Harper’s Bazaar, circulation rose 0.6 percent year-over-year to 111, 424, while Elle was up 0.2 percent to 172,193.

Elle and Harper’s Bazaar said circulation rose due to the publisher’s distribution strategy, which was introduced last year and incorporated strategies such as “pick-up” and “pop-up” spaces at shopping centers, movie theaters, festivals and selected airport gates and gyms.

Elle also collaborated with lookfantastic.com on a beauty box partnership and has teamed with movie theaters and upscale shopping destinations, while Harper’s Bazaar worked with the Victoria and Albert Museum and Kensington Palace. Distribution points for the latter also took place at events including the high-end art and jewelry fair Masterpiece London, RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Hearst’s Country Living Spring Fair.

“We believe print magazines have a unique ability to reach, influence and engage consumers,” said James Wildman, chief executive officer of Hearst U.K.

“We’re continuing to build loyal and engaged audiences through paid-for and dynamic channels, and our new research provides clear and compelling evidence that we’re attracting new readers. We’ve also worked extremely closely with ABC to incorporate and highlight our new routes to market in the certificate for the very first time, which is important to both our advertisers and trading partners,” he added.

At Condé Nast, Vanity Fair’s combined figure retreated 10.1 percent to 72,012, while Glamour was down 8.2 percent to 275,536. Tatler edged down 5.3 percent to 80,035, while Vogue U.K.fell 2.6 percent to 190,021. The magazine’s new editor, Edward Enninful, officially took the helm of the title earlier this month and his first issue will be December, landing on newsstands on Nov. 10.

Time Inc.’s Look declined 35.4 percent to 59,390. While Marie Claire’s year-over-year figure dipped 5.8 percent to 154,532, it saw an increase of 1 percent period-over-period after getting a revamp late last year. The publisher also noted a new distribution strategy for the glossy, focusing on the customers of Fabled by Marie Claire, an online and physical retail beauty business.

Men’s lifestyle titles also declined, with the category’s combined digital and print circulation down 1.7 percent to 964,275. Condé Nast U.K.’s Wired edged down 5.7 percent to 51,006 in its combined print and digital circulation year-over-year. Hearst’s Esquire retreated 4.1 percent to 62,051 while GQ was down 2.6 percent to 114,035.

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