In the latter category, Vanity Fair struggled this period to top its strong newsstand performance in the first half of 2006, posting a 15.7 percent drop in single-copy sales. "In 2006, Vanity Fair had the best newsstand year in the magazine's history. So 2007 was up against a number of very successful issues," said editor in chief Graydon Carter. "And some of this year's covers just didn't do as well as we hoped. There is, unfortunately, no science to this." Perhaps one explanation could be that men don't sell as well for the pop culture monthly — Bruce Willis, Owen Wilson, Chris Rock, Leonardo DiCaprio and James Gandolfini all appeared on the cover in the first half, compared to female cover subjects like Naomi Watts, Lindsay Lohan and Teri Hatcher in last year's first half. "It depends on the man, of course, but as a rule, women do sell better than men. Unless that man is Brad Pitt," quipped Carter. In fact, Demi Moore, the only woman who appeared on its cover alone this period, sold best.
But Elle reported a 9.1 percent increase in single-copy sales, while Vogue posted a 4.6 percent uptick in newsstand sales, to 452,207. Lucky posted an 11.9 percent newsstand increase, to 250,240, and an overall circulation increase of 9.4 percent. Shape reported a 2.2 percent growth in total circulation, to 1.7 million, and Women's Health continued its strong circulation growth, reporting total paid circulation of 786,892. The title is raising its rate base to 1.1 million in January.
In contrast, general interest women's magazines reported softness on newsstands. Marie Claire posted a 20.1 percent decline in newsstand sales, to 328,200, despite a return to more traditional cover treatments compared to last fall's edgy experimentation by editor in chief Joanna Coles. Glamour posted a 7.3 percent drop on newsstands, to 755,289.