WHSmith risks boycott over launches

WHSmith will cause an outcry among magazine publishers next month when it launches four of its own titles.

The move has angered many publishers, who are already fighting for space on news-stands, and could lead to a boycott of WHSmith, the Periodical Publishers Association warned this week.

The WHS-branded titles are expected to be given priority at point of sale and remain on news-stands for longer periods than other magazines.

Ian Locks, chief executive of the PPA, said the move would reduce space for other publishers and warned: "WHS is not the only trick in town. Over 40 per cent of magazine sales are through the independent sector and some publishers are deciding to put their marketing spend behind independent retailers.

"The more WHS goes down the track of magazine publishing, the more publishers are going to say, ‘what other options have we got?’.

WHS is planning to launch Payday, a men’s lifestyle title about careers and money; Family, a women’s lifestyle and parenting title; and Fit and Healthy, a women’s fitness magazine. All are bimonthly and in development at John Brown Publishing. They will have a cover price of £2.99. WHS is also to launch a monthly women’s lifestyle title, Wish, produced by Redwood.

The move follows the launch of 12 specialist one-shot titles last year.

Payday, under launch editor Chris Dunkerley – previously with Alodis and ZM – will target men aged 25 to 35 and take a laddish approach to personal finance. Family, edited by Leah Hardy, former deputy editor of Cosmopolitan, will target women aged 25 to 35 and offer advice on parenting. Karen Buchanan, former editor of Four Four Two, will edit Fit and Healthy.

Tim Brooks, managing director of IPC Media Southbank, said: "We would never dream of shouldering the risk of retailing in addition to shouldering the risk of publishing."

By Ruth Addicott

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