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Tough First Half for British Magazines

Figures published by the U.K.’s Audit Bureau of Circulations showed that most fashion and lifestyle titles either declined in circulation or grew marginally.

TOUGH FIRST HALF: British magazines posted a muted set of print circulation figures during the first half of 2012. Figures published Thursday by the U.K.’s Audit Bureau of Circulations showed that most women’s and men’s fashion and lifestyle titles either declined in circulation or grew only marginally.

As a sector, women’s fashion lifestyle titles shrank by 5.1 percent compared to the same period last year, while the men’s lifestyle sector fell 1.1 percent.

Women’s titles that notched gains compared to the first half of 2011 included Easy Living, which unveiled a redesign under new editor Deborah Joseph in March, and rose 3.8 percent to 164,019. Vanity Fair rose 0.1 percent to 100,692, while Harper’s Bazaar U.K. was up 0.4 percent to 119,274 and IPC Media’s Marie Claire rose 1.7 percent over the year to 255,021.

Condé Nast U.K.’s Glamour saw sales fall 11.3 percent to 470,138, although this was a 0.8 percent increase compared with the July-December 2011 figure. Vogue’s circulation fell 2.7 percent to 205,033 year-on-year, while Elle U.K. fell 3.8 percent to 189,568 and Tatler’s circulation dipped 0.7 percent to 87,004. InStyle U.K., published by IPC Media, fell 6.7 percent over the year to 163,432. All figures are for the print titles’ total average net circulation and distribution.

Among men’s titles, Condé Nast’s GQ’s circulation rose 1.6 percent year-on-year, to 120,139, while Hearst’s Esquire’s fell 6 percent to 54,702. Titles aimed at the younger, laddish end of the market continued to suffer — FHM fell 20.4 percent over the year to 123,844, while Nuts plummeted 20.9 percent to 90,134 and Zoo dropped 14.7 percent to 46,310.

Publishers pointed to growing digital sales of their titles, saying those are serving to buoy their often slow-growing print figures. Condé Nast U.K. published figures that incorporated digital sales of its magazines, taking Vogue’s circulation to 206,383, GQ’s to 129,791 and Vanity Fair’s to 106,934. Hearst Magazines U.K. noted that Harper’s Bazaar U.K. posted a combined digital and print circulation of 125,516, while Elle’s figure, combining digital and print circulation, rose to 196,363.