The SARS virus, the war in Iraq and the terrorist threat were among the reasons given by IPC for lost sales in the women’s lifestyle/fashion sector.
Sandy Whetton, managing director of IPC Southbank, said at the upper end of the market travel was down as a result of the threat of terrorism, leading to a 2 per cent drop in sales of Marie Claire at travel points, contributing to a 4.4 per cent drop to 376,476 year-on-year.
Fears surrounding international travel didn’t seem to touch Glamour however, which reported a 10.9 per cent rise, and retained its market leadership over Cosmopolitan with sales of 576,832. Cosmo recorded a slight drop of 1.7 and remained steady at 462,157.
Baffled, Duncan Edwards, managing director of Cosmo-publisher The National Magazine Company, said: “Why would SARS affect Marie Claire and not Cosmo? It’s just nonsense.”
Having already dropped its price in some areas, Cosmo announced plans last week to test a smaller travel size Cosmo in London and the South East.
Glamour editor Jo Elvin pointed out that Glamour’s handbag size had not proved a success for everyone, including Jack and B in Australia. “It’s such a public admission of defeat and desperation, I just wonder what impact that would have on the team,” she said.
Edwards branded her remarks “childish”, noting that Cosmo was still number one in the “premium priced” sector and continued to lead the way with campaigns.
Company, which dropped its cover price to match Glamour 18 months ago, rose 5.9 per cent to 330,617.
Meanwhile, B slipped 14.6 per cent year-on-year and a further 14.3 per cent period-on-period. New Woman was also down 9.10 per cent.
Dawn BÃ©be, managing director of Emap Elan’s youth and women’s titles, echoed IPC and said sales had been down 20 per cent overall at travel outlets, but had improved for New Woman since the redesign and TV campaign.
InStyle posted the biggest increase, up 17.3 per cent to 179,174. Woman & Home rose 7.6 per cent and Eve 10.1 per cent to 131,157.
At the older end, Good Housekeeping and Yours increased by 3.7 per cent to 400,253 and 5.1 per cent to 386,591 respectively.
By Ruth Addicott