Punch falls short of sales targets

Punch is selling just 35,000 copies a week, well short of the 80,000 guarantee it made to advertisers ahead of its relaunch in September, according to sources close to the magazine.

The figure is also well short of Punch owner Liberty Publishing’s original 150,000 target for the magazine.

Sources close to the title suggest that its first Audit Bureau of Circulations figure, not due until August this year, will reach 40,000 to 50,000 once bulk sales are included. However, the net sales figure is closer to 35,000.

“The magazine has not turned out to be what we expected,” says one agency press buying director. “It was to be an upmarket lifestyle magazine with some humour. Instead it is just a glossier version of the old Punch that failed.”

The magazine has had a difficult time since its launch, losing editor Peter McKay and his deputy Mike Malloy in November, and ad sales director Ian Scott in December.

It currently has a shortlist of four to replace Scott, while Liberty Publishing’s chairman Stewart Steven is acting editor.

Punch’s marketing manager Neil Rodford denies that the magazine is selling only 35,000 copies.

“We are still on course to do between 60,000 and 80,000 during our audit period of January to June,” he says.

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