ABC triumph for FHM and Sugar

Attic Futura’s Sugar and EMAP’s FHM have dominated the latest round of Audit Bureau of Circulations results, with sales that take them up to the circulations of women’s monthly magazines.

Sugar, the teenage monthly magazine, was selling almost as many copies a month as women’s magazines Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan in the second half of 1996.

The teen magazine, which has been attacked by MPs and The Daily Mail for its sexual content, saw its circulation grow by 44 per cent year on year to 456,939 in the July to December ABC figures.

The success of Sugar has been felt by EMAP’s flagship teen title, Just Seventeen, whose sales fell by a third for the third six-month period in a row to 130,030. EMAP announced last week (MW February 14) that Just Seventeen was moving from weekly to monthly frequency, and would feature more lifestyle editorial and a perfect-bound format.

Attic Futura managing director Neil Raaschou says Sugar has revolutionised the teen market, and confirms Attic is working on a new young women’s monthly.

Marie Claire is selling 457,034 copies per month, a one per cent increase year on year, and just 95 a month ahead of Sugar. Its rival Cosmopolitan grew by the same to 461,080. Hello! maintained its position as the best-selling upmarket women’s magazine, by increasing sales eight per cent to 536,724.

Condé Nast’s Vogue sold more than 200,000 copies for the first time, with a rise of 6.6 per cent to 201,187 a month.

In the women’s weekly mass-market sector, a rash of launches and price cutting managed to add only 200,000 copies to the market’s 8.2 million sales. The only weekly magazines to raise circulations were IPC’s Woman and Woman’s Own, which were up by 3.5 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively. Both magazines had cut their prices during the period.

Gruner & Jahr’s launch Here! reported a first circulation of 426,124. But its Best fell 3.6 per cent to 544,744, while Bauer’s Bella fell 13 per cent and Take A Break five.

In the men’s lifestyle market, FHM overtook IPC’s Loaded for the first time after increasing sales by a massive 217 per cent to 365,341. Loaded increased sales by 85 per cent to 323,115. FHM had benefited from a transport ad campaign during the period. But its growth has been attributed to its use of female cover models and pin-up supplements.

The magazine has already topped the 500,000 mark once and EMAP Metro’s management expects it to do so again with the March issue.

“Every month we say ‘should we print another 50,000 copies?'” says Metro managing director Barry McIlheney. “And we do and we sell them.” EMAP is planning a major ratecard increase for FHM.

The other post-Loaded men’s title, Dennis Publishing’s Maxim, increased its sales 53 per cent year on year to 150,261, overtaking more traditional titles GQ and Esquire. GQ is now selling 148,574, up 15 per cent year on year. NatMags’ Esquire grew 4.6 per cent to 111,007.

FHM and Loaded have overtaken women’s monthlies such as Company and She, which are selling at 290,081 and 252,046 respectively.

Media Analysis, page 16

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