New men's monthly Buck adds to pressure on Arena

The editor of a new rival to monthly men’s magazine Arena claims he has replaced the under-pressure magazine in a number of key Tesco outlets.

According to one industry source, Arena has been dropped from 220 stores – but it will still be available in Tesco Express and Tesco Metro. With Tesco accounting for more than 30 per cent of the UK grocery market – it has become a hugely important outlet for UK consumer magazines.

The move comes as independently published title Buck launches as a new competitor for Arena.

Bauer said of the change to distribution: ‘In line with our strategy to target readers more closely, Arena has recently secured new listings in targeted Sainsbury’s outlets and M&S stores and Arena continues to be available in Tesco.

“However, instead of low-selling permanent listings, such as the big out-of-town stores, we will be promoting in the likes of Tesco Express and Tesco Metro. This also gives us an opportunity to redistribute copies to stronger-selling Arena retailers, such as WHS Travel and independents around London and the South East.”

A Tesco spokesman commented: “As with all our products we review our titles frequently, making sure we stock what customers want to read. We can confirm there have been some changes regarding this title but we don’t wish to go into the details.”

Circulation for Bauer Consumer Media title Arena has been in decline since 2005. Although the figure of 30,896 for the first half of 2008 was flat year on year, 5,709 of that figure were free distribution. In 1996 Arena was selling more than 90,000.

Buck launches on 30 October offering lifetyle content, fashion, furniture and food for men aged 20 to 35.

Editor Steve Doyle said: ‘I think they were worried about Arena sales. With the freed-up space, I think they decided to take a chance on us because of our food content.”

Doyle has secured major distribution for his new title, with stores including WH Smiths, Borders, Tesco and Asda stocking the title. It has a target circulation of 35,000.

The unique selling point for Buck, said Doyle, is that one quarter of the editorial will be covering food, catering for the rising number of men who are becoming ‘foodies”.

He said: ‘I’m a bit of a foodie myself, and I personally think that men’s culture towards food has changed over the last ten years. So many men watch Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey and buy their books, and like cooking for their friends. There’s no magazine that caters for it. GQ is the one that should be doing it.”

The food editor for the title is chef Matt O’leary, who previoulys provided food content for Virgin’s website.

Buck has 10 full-time editorial staff and three interns, based in Bethnal Green, East London.

Doyle was inspired to start the magazine after living in Japan, where he was a fan of popular men’s style magazine “Men’s Non-no”.

Doyle has most recently worked as an executive at accountancy giant KPMG in the City.

He is funding the magazine from his own pocket with inherited money.

The title also has a website, Buckstyle.com, which is already live offering fashion news, party pictures and a recipe bank.

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