Whilst the latest ABC report from the UK shows continued decline, a check of year on year sales at one of my newsagencies here in Australia shows that we’re achieving 10% year on year unit sales growth for magazines and even more at some category, segment and title levels.

Woman’s Day sales are up 6%, New Idea up 15%, Who 31%, Take 5 up 7%,TV Week up 7.8%, AWW up 4.5% and craft overall up 40% off a good base. While magazine sales are challenged for many, things are working well for us.

Here is what we do to drive magazine sales:

  1. We obsess about the category because it’s a key traffic driver. We manage it as a point of difference and not as an obligation. By obsess I mean that more than 50% of my time in the shop is spent on magazines.
  2. We react to covers. I topical cover gets extra attention.
  3. We regularly relay magazine categories and titles to keep the layout fresh and relevant. For example, we moved craft from deep in the women’s section to be opposite our weeklies. Bam! Sales went nuts.
  4. We co-locate titles to chase impulse purchases. For example, That’s Lifepuzzle titles with That’s Life and the AWW crossword book with AWW.
  5. We often promote magazines on the lease line to passers-by – sometimes weeklies, other times categories.
  6. We use smaller format in-locations displays more so than the publisher preferred billboard displays.
  7. We reward genuinely loyal shoppers for above average behaviour. There is no doubt that the discount vouchers facility is driving good growth for us. Every day we see shoppers purchasing a magazine on impulse as a result of a cash discount opportunity we give them.

I don’t mean to sound big-headed but to me it’s these initiatives publishers should be promoting to newsagents. Our channel can grow magazine sales if we all engage in the kind of activity noted above.

The most important reward any newsagent can win is sales growth. We all must chase this for magazines as this product category continues to be very important to our businesses despite the sales declines reported in many newsagencies.