With 260,422 sales a month Glamour was the tenth biggest selling magazine in the UK as ranked by ABC. So news that its monthly edition is to close at the end of the year is a huge blow to the power of print magazine publishing. Glamour has fallen a long way since it burst on to the UK publishing scene in 2001, back in the days when publishing innovation was largely about changing the size of paper used.
The UK edition pioneered the handbag-sized format and debuted with an ABC of 451,486. It peaked at 620,391 in 2004 and since then has been in steady decline. When sales dropped 26 per cent year on year at the end of 2016, to 260,422 copies a month it was clear that drastic action was needed.
It was being murdered on the newsstands by Cosmopolitan, long-established rival in the women’s monthly fashion and lifestyle sector. In the second half of 2015 Cosmo slashed its cover price from £3.80 to £1 and boosted the number of free copies given away. At £2 a copy, Glamour could not compete. As Hearst’s Cosmo grew from 260,000 to over 400,000 copies per month, Glamour’s sales slid.
At the start of this year, Conde Nast cut the cover price of Glamour to £1. Period on period there was a slight sales increase, up 15,000 copies to 275,536 – but it was evidently nothing like the boost the publisher was hoping for. With print advertising under pressure across the board, the loss of £2.5m-plus a year in circulation revenue was clearly too much for the title to bear.