Top US fitness mag takes on UK

The US’s best-selling health and fitness magazine is being primed for launch in the UK next year.

Shape, a top ten magazine in the US which sells over 1 million copies every month, will compete with the National Magazine Company’s Zest in the growing health and lifestyle sector.

It will be published by Weider Publishing, the UK subsidiary of Shape’s US publisher. Weider currently specialises in bodybuilding magazines Flex and Muscle & Fitness.

The launch had originally been scheduled for January 1997, but has now been put back to the middle of the year. The delay follows research that shows UK readers want a product with more lifestyle and less fitness coverage than the US version.

Weider is currently recruiting for advertising sales and editorial staff.

“We will spend whatever it costs to launch Shape with a big splash,” says Geoff Evans, publishing manager of Weider. “But a lot of work has still to be done. We want to put Shape closer to Zest and mainstream women’s magazines.”

It is understood that Shape will match Zest’s cover price of 2.10. Zest, which went monthly in May after two years as a quarterly, currently sells about 135,000 copies.

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