Sales continue to slide at top three men's magazines

As FHM, Loaded, Maxim and Front continued to shed sales year-on-year, some editors predicted the worst was yet to come with the new men’s weeklies likely to hit the sector.

FHM publishing director James Carter said the title had increased its market share, while Loaded was focusing on “titillation and nudity”. He said the £16m combined launch of Zoo Weekly and Nuts generated more market interest and denied there was too much overlap. “Jordan has been on the cover of two men’s weeklies three times in the past seven days, yet she has been on the cover of FHM once in 15 years and I think that says a lot about positioning.

“Halle Berry has been on the cover of FHM three times. She is an Oscar-winning A-list Hollywood celebrity, who would never go on the cover of those titles.

“Jordan will go on anything made of paper. She’ll be on McDonald’s bags next.”

GQ editor Dylan Jones disagreed and predicted that when Berry’s popularity increased in the summer due to her forthcoming film, she would be on the cover of Zoo, Nuts and FHM.

“You will see even more of a decline next time,” he warned. “There is no doubt that Zoo and Nuts are cannibalising sales of the big-selling downmarket magazines.

“I would imagine they are in a state of flux because if you’re in the features department, you’re obviously thinking who is going to be hot in five or six weeks’ time and by that time the person could easily have appeared twice on the cover of Nuts and Zoo. It will exhaust the pool of cover stars.”

Loaded publisher Eric Fuller said it was too early to predict the impact on his title, but pointed out that experience in the women’s market showed that a weekly such as Heat and a monthly such as Glamour could co-exist and both be in growth at the same time.

GQ reported an ABC of 124,022 following a 7 to 8 per cent uplift on the Gwyneth Paltrow and GQ Men of The Year issues. Esquire was up 3.1 per cent to 70,164.

Meanwhile, Jack – up 17.1 per cent period-onperiod to 39,052 – came under fire from rivals for including 12,000 bulks. Jack editor Michael Hodges attributed the rise to the relaunch under new owner Felix Dennis. “This is what Chairman Mao meant by a great leap forward. People said to me there was not a market for what we were doing and we have proved there is.”

Arena announced the biggest breakthrough, up a massive 28.1 per cent to 40,617. Editor Anthony Noguera said: “Two-and-a-half years ago, people were saying confidently that Arena was going to close, especially Dylan Jones [Arena’s former editor].

It was like somebody going out with his exgirlfriend, but we have really turned it around.”

Emap has increased the marketing spend and Noguera said the next goal was to overtake Esquire on the news-stands.

Men’s Fitness recorded the second-biggest lift, up 17.8 per cent to 60,017. Men’s Health sold 220,446, while Bizarre threatened to tackle its 10 per cent slide with a revamped “more hardcore” Bizarre later this year.

By Ruth Addicott

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