No panic, in spite of Love It! success, believe established titles

It's business as usual on the newsstand according to the real-life weekly veterans — despite the splash made by the new arrivals in the sector.

Of the two new titles, Love it!, which launched in February as News International's first foray into magazines, reported a circulation of 405,441, just over its 400,000 sales target.

Real People, the NatMags title launched in January, also reached its target, reporting average sales of 318,105.

The success of the new players appears to be at the expense of IPC's Pick Me Up, which brought a younger reader to the sector since its launch in 2005, but which suffered a sales drop of 11.7 per cent to 445,098.

Simon Denny, publisher of both Pick Me Up and Chat, whose sales also declined to 554,375, down 9 per cent, said the titles were still "very resilient against strong competition".

Denny said: "Love It! has been the strongest of the competition, but we just stick to our guns really.

"It's business as usual — we continue to innovate, adding eight pages to both Chat and Pick Me Up."

Denny accused Real People of copying Pick Me Up's style and said both titles' final sales figures were distorted by launch sales and cut-price editions.

He said: "Real People just this week has repackaged its puzzle content into a single section, which was our unique position in the market until then."

Around 100,000 of both Love It! and Real People's actively purchased sales were at a cut price.

Denny added: "Titles such as Love It! are struggling to sell 300,000 because they have launch issues and cut price in that — something we didn't. If that's the best they can do, we're still a long way ahead."

Philippa Hamilton, publishing director of Bauer market leader Take a Break, said it had "resisted reliance on promotion and gimmicks" and had retained cover price, the highest in the sector.

She said that Take a Break's circulation fall to 1,082,051, a decrease of 9.9 per cent, was in part due to cannibalisation in the market.

Hamilton added: "The titles that are going to win — there are some stronger than others — are the ones with the strongest brands and editorial, which maintain their cover price from a commercial perspective."

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