Speccy in rude health after 'bonking' Boris

The departure of "bonking" Boris Johnson in December evidently hasn't harmed the sales of The Spectator — which rose 4.4 per cent year on year to 70,090 in the first half of 2006 under new editor Matthew D'Ancona.

It is a new high for the 178-year-old mag and reflects a generally positive period for the news weeklies.

The Economist, now at more than a million sales worldwide, is looking solid at its UK edition, which enjoyed a sales rise of 4.3 per cent year on year to 162,112. It is another magazine that recently lost an established editor — in February, Bill Emmott stood down after 13 years at the helm.

John Micklethwait, appointed editor of The Economist in March, said the publication was expanding its website as readers sourced news online. But he added: "We believe that in an age of information overload our magazine is a useful part of our readers' lives."

Elsewhere in the news and current affairs sector: Private Eye continues to lead the UK pack, with a sale slightly down 1.2 per cent to 207,437; The Week jumped 13.9 per cent to 120,777 — its 16th consecutive ABC increase — and The Oldie may have suffered from a few readers dropping off their perches, sales were down 10.5 per cent to 23,412.

Figures for the recently relaunched New Statesman are expected to be released separately, some time in the next fortnight. Since its redesign in June, the left-leaning weekly's sales have risen above 30,000, the highest in 20 years, and the publisher expects this to level out, but above its last ABC of 24,740 for the six months ending 2005.

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