Rivals pour scorn on Jack's claim for upmarket crown

Jack: “too early” for accurate figure

Jack has been challenged to reveal sales figures after boasting it will take second spot in the upmarket men’s sector by the summer.

Jack commercial director Bruce Sandell said it was too early to post an accurate figure, but claimed the magazine was on target to post an ABC of 45,000 in August, which would put it behind GQ and ahead of Arena and Esquire on the news-stand. “We would like to be ahead of GQ by 2005,” he said. “We are still very new, but there is an element of people who dropped out of the sector coming back.”

Rival publishers immediately disputed the claims. Emap estimates Jack’s news-stand sale has dropped from 60,000 to 20,000 since it went monthly. Duncan Edwards, managing director of NatMags, also claimed Jack was “miles away” from overtaking his company’s Esquire. “If they had a number they were proud of they would have put out an ABC.”

GQ reported sales of 123,502. Esquire was up by 9.8 per cent, although its ABC was almost double its news-stand sale of 36,722, thanks to bulks.

Maxim editor-in-chief Tom Loxley said Jack had refocused minds on editorial, but the sector had suffered a knock-on effect of FHM promotions and publishers with “deep pockets”. FHM showed an 8.7 per cent increase. Loaded slipped to 290,214, Front fell 7.4 per cent and Maxim will be hoping to reverse its 9.6 per cent decline with a major cash injection from owner Felix Dennis this year.

The Face fell 12.9 per cent ahead of a radical revamp in June. Arena reported sales of 31,712 – up 38.8 per cent on last year. Dharmash Mistry, managing director of Emap Consumer Media, said: “Arena’s had a tough time, but it is growing.”

Wallpaper felt the loss of its original team and founding editor Tyler BržlŽ, plummeting 16 per cent, but is expecting growth in the second half of 2003 following a June redesign.

The fitness titles fared better; Men’s Health up 1.5 per cent at 218,740 and Men’s Fitness up 9.4 per cent. Stuff also saw an increase of 8.1 per cent and Bizarre reversed its decline to report a period-on-period increase of 8.8 per cent. Editor-in-chief James Brown said: “It just goes to show how many sick bastards there are out there.”

By Ruth Addicott

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