Fierce competition tips scales against Emap's health titles

By Alyson Fixter

Emap is to close two health titles — Slimming and Health Plus — despite a relaunch of Health Plus last May, blaming the collapse of the magazines on a "fiercely competitive" market.

Slimming saw a six-month sales drop of 47 per cent in February’s ABCs, while Health Plus lost 20 per cent of readers in the same period.

The publisher was this week in consultation with 10 staff on Slimming and nine on Health Plus, and said it was hoping to "redeploy as many as possible elsewhere at Emap".

A spokeswoman for the company said 37-year-old Slimming’s demise was due to the marketing activity of club titles like WeightWatchers and Slimming World, which had become "more aggressive on the newsstand" in the previous two years.

Both WeightWatchers and competitor Lighter Life have relaunched in the past six months, improving editorial content and production values.

The spokeswoman added: "Looking at the wider marketplace, dieting has now become a mass-market pursuit with consumers switching to TV, the internet, weeklies and newspapers for their information and advice.

"It has become a quicker-fix need which is harder to satisfy in a monthly magazine title."

WeightWatchers and Slimming World also lost sales in the most recent ABC round-up — 13 per cent and five per cent respectively. Rosemary Conley magazine failed to declare an ABC figure.

Health Plus, originally a spin-off from Yours magazine, was relaunched as a monthly health and beauty magazine in May last year. It was targeted at women aged 40-plus wanting to look younger and live a more youthful lifestyle.

The magazine was given strong marketing back-up — the company press office made statements on the controversy over pregnancies in later life on behalf of Health Plus readers — but the title failed to make a dent in the market.

IPC’s Woman & Home, the National Magazine Company’s Good Housekeeping and Hachette launch Psychologies, which are aimed at a similar age group, showed steady results in the ABCs.

An Emap spokeswoman said: "The magazine market this year has been fiercely competitive. Health has become a key area at retail for wooing new readers in the 40-plus age group, especially in the glossy magazine lifestyle sec

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