NEW YORK — Maybe it’s all those new celebrity tabloids eating up space at the checkout, but the monthly women’s and teen fashion magazines have been having a pretty poor year so far on the newsstand.
Eleven of 17 titles reported declines in single-copy sales for the first half of 2005, with the biggest drops coming at Teen People, Vogue, Marie Claire and Vanity Fair, according to numbers recently filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Vanity Fair’s decrease was somewhat surprising, as the title has been riding a wave of buzz stemming from the July issue’s Mark Felt/Deep Throat bombshell and September’s much-hyped Jennifer Aniston interview. Unfortunately for editor in chief Graydon Carter, those coups came too late to make a difference in the title’s disappointing first-half sales average, which was off 11.8 percent from the same period in 2004. That’s not as bad as the 22.5 percent drop in the second half of last year, but it’s hardly the rebound Carter was hoping for when he put Russian supermodels, “Desperate Housewives” and Angelina Jolie on successive covers, in keeping with his theory that featuring too many men was the cause of last fall’s slump.
At least Vanity Fair is in good company: Vogue and Marie Claire were down about 12 percent on the newsstand in the first half. Teen People was off 15.8 percent and lost its pride of place as the best-selling teen title on newsstands to Cosmogirl, which was up 9 percent. Another teen title, Ellegirl, had the distinction of notching the biggest percentage gain — 23 percent — but it remains the teen category’s smallest contender. Jane and W also posted double-digit increases, though Jane’s was attributable to a cover price cut (from $3.50 to $1.99). Both titles are part of Fairchild Publications, parent of WWD. The numbers cited here are as filed to ABC and are subject to audit; ABC will release its full report on Aug. 15.