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Sluggish Sales for Fashion Magazines Persist

Allure, Essence, Lucky, Marie Claire, Self, Vogue and W experience double-digit declines in single-copy sales.

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The second half of 2009 remained a bleak period on the newsstand for some fashion titles, as several factors, including a troubled economy, continued to hamper sales. Almost half of the fashion titles measured continued to experience double-digit declines in single-copy sales, including Allure, Essence, Lucky, Marie Claire, Self, Vogue and W. Among lifestyle titles, Martha Stewart Living and Redbook continued to suffer at the newsstand, and men’s titles, except for Men’s Journal, posted declines. Newsstand figures continue to be an important barometer for each title, but some see their importance potentially diminished in the future as e-readers, such as the iPad and Skiff, are developed and eventually become more affordable to consumers.

This story first appeared in the February 5, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

There were a few bright spots during the period, including O The Oprah Magazine’s turnaround, partially due to strong sales of the highly promoted December issue featuring Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres. Men’s Journal also had a significant boost in single-copy sales, led by the December issue with Alec Baldwin on the cover (which is the best-selling cover in the magazine’s history). And Vanity Fair continues to grow at the newsstand. The second half of the year was the largest six-month average in the magazine’s history, with five out of six issues selling more than 400,000. (In 2008, the magazine had average newsstand sales below this figure.) Heath Ledger, featured on the August cover, sold 495,000.

Below, WWD provides the circulation figures for the largest fashion and lifestyle magazines, as filed to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

 


Second-Half 2009 Circulation Figures
  Newsstand 2H09 Newsstand 2H08 % Change Total Paid and Verified Circ 2009 Total Paid and Verified Circ 2008 % Change
FASHION
Allure 186,000 224,550 -17.2 1,080,545 1,095,034 -1.3
Cosmopolitan 1,753,400 1,779,097 -1.4 3,001,900 2,926,683 2.6
Elle 316,925 317,436 -0.2 1,125,647 1,124,674 0.1
Essence 209,114 268,948 -22.2 1,071,916 1,101,289 -2.7
Glamour 587,677 612,000 -4.0 2,448,119 2,290,452 6.9
Harper’s Bazaar 153,700 153,234 0.3 732,600 709,019 3.3
Health 82,751 74,458 11.1 1,385,997 1,371,279 1.1
In Style 693,155 740,384 -6.4 1,794,621 1,757,429 2.1
Lucky 217,333 246,167 -11.7 1,128,673 1,160,603 -2.8
Marie Claire 254,400 297,957 -14.6 970,300 1,007,814 -3.7
People Stylewatch 536,934 527,000 1.9 802,275 739,037 8.6
Self 244,167 300,633 -18.8 1,498,922 1,482,664 1.1
Shape 279,000 300,117 -7.0 1,672,000 1,701,023 -1.7
Town & Country 31,100 38,343 -18.9 455,200 455,087 0.0
Vanity Fair 421,833 401,298 5.1 1,251,101 1,190,997 5.0
Vogue 353,167 416,000 -15.1 1,240,800 1,293,078 -4.0
W 24,650 42,317 -41.7 453,735 468,835 -3.2
Women’s Health 321,126 310,947 3.3 1,454,545 1,196,898 21.5
 
TEEN
Seventeen 392,300 391,776 0.1 2,071,400 2,034,494 1.8
Teen Vogue 178,000 206,600 -13.8 1,019,487 1,025,016 -0.5
 
LIFESTYLE
Martha Stewart Living 269,400 326,922 -17.6 2,091,600 2,030,150 3.0
More 206,200 199,600 3.3 1,356,183 1,303,566 4.0
O, The Oprah Magazine 662,300 625,961 5.8 2,479,200 2,365,334 4.8
Real Simple 411,705 387,800 6.2 2,014,428 1,980,061 1.7
Redbook 126,400 180,745 -30.1 2,225,700 2,209,060 0.8
 
MEN
Details 57,200 61,600 -7.1 470,659 440,841 6.8
Esquire 97,300 105,503 -7.8 716,500 713,038 0.5
GQ 193,440 232,667 -16.9 894,005 919,880 -2.8
Men’s Health 438,238 508,518 -13.8 1,866,231 1,859,701 0.4
Men’s Journal 94,167 75,901 24.1 735,654 713,092 3.2
Maxim 293,943 406,290 -27.7 2,513,733 2,521,710 -0.3
SOURCE: PUBLISHERS ESTIMATES PROVIDED TO AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS.
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