U.K. TITLES POST SLOW-GROWING ABCS: U.K. magazines continued to post either declining or slow-growing print circulation figures in the second half of 2011, according to data published by the U.K.’s Audit Bureau of Circulation Thursday.

In terms of fashion titles, British Vogue fell 0.2 percent in the six months to December, compared to the same period last year, to 210,806, while Hearst’s Elle declined 2.7 percent to 195,020 year-on-year, and IPC’s InStyle fell 2.5 percent to 176,002. British Glamour, while still the best-performing paid-for women’s lifestyle title, fell 6.8 percent year- on-year to 466,327. All figures are for the titles’ total average net circulation and distribution.

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Those titles that did grow circulation did so modestly. Harper’s Bazaar, published by Hearst U.K., rose 0.2 percent year-on-year to 120,004, while Vanity Fair rose 0.1 percent to 102,585, and Marie Claire, published by IPC in the U.K., rose 0.7 percent to 266,881.

Men’s titles also registered declines. Men’s Health fell 10.1 percent year-on-year to 221,176, while FHM plummeted 20.6 percent to 140,716 and Esquire fell 4.7 percent to 56,583. GQ’s circulation stayed flat year-on-year at 120,094. As a whole, the men’s lifestyle sector fell 5.2 percent year-on-year.

However, both Condé Nast U.K. and Hearst Magazines U.K. pointed to the growth in digital sales of their magazines, and each firm independently published ABC figures that combined their digital and print sales. Condé Nast U.K. said that combining both media, Vogue posted a circulation of 211,624, while Vanity Fair achieved a circulation of 105,089 and GQ registered a circulation of 125,825. Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé Nast U.K., said: “Print is proving to be remarkably resilient at the luxury end, confounding the doom-mongers. In addition, the iPad and other tablet devices are offering exciting routes to market, which is proving popular with our upmarket readership, in particular for GQ, Wired and Vanity Fair.” Digital sales combine both Apple Newsstand and Zinio sales.

Hearst said that Elle achieved a combined digital and print circulation of 197,463, while Esquire recorded a combined circulation of 60,328 and Harper’s Bazaar achieved a combined circulation of 122,884. The company said that since October 2011, 10 million users have downloaded Hearst Magazine U.K.’s apps.

IPC Media’s chief executive officer, Sylvia Auton, pointed to positive results from Marie Claire, which notched up a 6.4 percent gain in the six months to December compared to the previous six months, which IPC attributed to an increase in newsstand sales and a focus on delivering a “strong editorial product.” The title recently launched a biannual fashion collections spin-off, called Marie Claire Runway. Auton also cited the positive performances of Woman & Home, InStyle and Country Life as evidence that “empty nesters and those without dependent children are continuing to buy magazines in large numbers.”

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