Now still women's choice for celebrity

Big buy-ups and exclusives are not the only way to boost sales, according to Hello!.

The magazine is increasingly having to come up with new angles to cover stories in the face of growing competition in the celebrity sector.

Despite claims that Jonny Wilkinson turned down an offer of £1m for his story from a celebrity magazine, Hello! saw a 10 per cent uplift in sales from its Rugby World Cup issue, featuring Wilkinson and the rest of the England team.

Hello! publisher Sally Cartwright said: “There are not enough exclusives around to satisfy all of us, so we have to do a good job with what we have got. You can’t beat a big exclusive, but a well-done story at the right time will always do well.”

That said, Hello!’s August exclusive on the Westlife wedding resulted in a 50 to 60 per cent increase – turning out to be the biggest-selling issue of the period.

Hello! reported an ABC of 350,374 and extended its news-stand sales in the latest period, despite a 35.9 per cent fall on last year due to the removal of bulks.

OK! showed a rise of 16.7 per cent period-on-period following voucher promotion in Express Newspapers, despite a 9.8 per cent slide year-onyear to 570,927.

Now remains the UK’s biggestselling celebrity title, however, with an ABC of 592,076. Heat was up 2.2 per cent year-on-year to 566,731, ahead of Closer, which posted a 15.1 per cent rise period-on-period to 385,036 and Richard Desmond’s rival New!, which sold 334,310.

Now editor Jane Ennis said: “We were number one when there were four magazines in the market and we are still number one when there are seven. A lot of the launches have been directly against us, so I am pleased. We are not soaring ahead on double-digit increases and neither is Heat; everything is settling down and levelling off. I don’t think the celebrity bubble has quite burst, but we are all running very fast to stand still.”

Chat was the only women’s weekly title to show any real signs of growth, up 9.4 per cent to 604,582, overtaking its long-standing rival That’s Life! to become the UK’s second-biggest selling weekly after Take a Break.

By Ruth Addicott

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