Hot on the heels of the London Evening Standard’s announcement to drop its 50p cover price from 12 October, a free weekly magazine aimed at fashion-conscious women hit the streets in six cities today.
Stylist has a distribution of around 400,000 and is available London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Brighton. No doubt retailers in these cities will be concerned of its affect on newsstand sales of rival paid-for titles such as Look and Grazia, which sell 305,391 and 182,554 copies a week respectively.
The new title’s founder Mike Soutar, who is also responsible for free magazine for men Shortlist, which launched in 2007, says it doesn’t aim to cannibalise sales. He told Media Guardian: “In order for us to succeed, other people do not have to lose. I suspect Stylist will attract quite a sizeable group of people who do not buy women’s weekly magazines.”
While I’m not completely convinced Stylist won’t steal some sales away from its rivals, the good news is, with the freebie handed out every Wednesday, paid-for weeklies have the advantage of being on sale a day earlier – and, who knows, it could even encourage women to come back to the paid-for sector.