Grazia not a threat say upbeat glossies

By Maxine Clayman

Women’s glossies are strong enough to withstand the multi-million
pound launch of Grazia , editors have insisted, following a set of ABCs
that show booming interest from readers.

Glamour retained the top spot in the monthly sector, producing a
record ABC figure of 620,391, up seven per cent year-on-year, while
biggest rival Cosmopolitan also reported its highest figure in the past
24 years, with a 4 per cent rise to 478,394. IPC’s Marie-Claire
recorded a year-on-year sales rise of seven per cent to 384,502.

The sector overall fared well with a growth of 21 per cent. Essentials suffered the biggest circulation slump, down 14 per cent.

Jo Elvin, editor of Condé Nast’s Glamour, attributed the success of the sector to the impact of her title on the market.

She
said: “Everyone’s been working hard to catch up to our ABC, pulled
their finger out and thought, ‘What can we do?’, which to be perfectly
honest is copying Glamour – the size, the price cutting. It’s obvious,
particularly Cosmo with its redesign.

“What’s gratifying for me is despite the competition we’re still growing.”

Sam
Baker, editor of Cosmo, said the title’s rise was due to a refocus on
core issues, as well as a redesign and new cover formula. But she
denied the sector had cause for concern about Grazia , despite the
cannibalisation effect weeklies have had on the men’s sector.

She
said: “The sector’s incredibly strong; there’s been a lot of growth, so
it’s not like we’re all share stealing from each other. Besides, Grazia
‘s more about celebrity. In newsagents I’ve been in it’s been racked
with Hello! and Heat , so I think it’s squarely in that market at the
moment.”

Elvin added: “Before Grazia launched they made a selling
point of being able to be newsier than the monthlies, but as far as I’m
concerned, it’s not.

“I’d be interested to see how this develops.
If you look at the successful women’s weeklies, they’re the more
throwaway tabloid newsy Jade Goody end of the market.”

Sandy
Whetton, managing director of IPC Southbank, publishers of Marie Claire
, said it was too early to say what effects Grazia would have.

He
said: “Profile-wise, there are pressures on the title. It doesn’t sit
happily in any one sector. It may be easily resolved but it will go one
way or the other – either become more celebrity or more
fashion-oriented.

“There are issues with sustainability and
seasonality in terms of fashion and is it going to appeal to women en
masse or the upscale fashionista?

“You can never be complacent – it would be ludicrous to say it’s not a threat, but I’m not losing sleep over it.”

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