Teenage girls’ magazine Sugar is to close after a 75% fall in circulation over the past decade, with publisher Hachette Filipacchi blaming young readers’ appetite for free content.
The 17-year-old magazine, which at its peak in the first half of 2000 had an average monthly sale of 422,179, sold just 113,320 a month during the first half of last year.
Hachette said it had taken the decision “with regret” and would concentrate its efforts on the magazine’s website, Sugarscape. Its March issue will be its last regular edition, with a “beauty special” to be published in April.
The closure comes as Hachette’s French parent company, Lagardere, nears completion of the sale of its international magazine business to National Magazine Company owner, the Hearst Corporation.
It remains unclear how many staff will be affected. The publisher has entered a period of consultation with the print magazine’s editorial and advertising teams and would “do its utmost to redeploy staff”, it said.
Announcing the closure today, Hachette Filipacchi said it was “in response to the fundamental shift in the nature of the teen publishing marketplace”.
“Over the past decade the teen magazine market has declined by 75% as teens spend their media time on mobile and web platforms and increasingly expect to receive content for free,” the publisher added.
The Sugar publisher, Rita Lewis, said: “It is with great regret that we have had to announce the closure of Sugar magazine. It has had a fabulous history and some of the finest talent in media has worked on it over the years.
“While, as publishers, we recognise reluctantly that Sugar magazine is no longer a viable business, we are pleased to be able to continue to invest in Sugarscape.com, which delivers a healthy return, underpinning our decision to focus on the digital platform.”
The magazine’s latest circulation was down nearly 20% on the previous six months and year on year. The company said the Sugarscape website, which launched in 2007, had 430,000 unique users each month.
Annabel Brog, Sugar’s editor, said: “I am so proud to have worked on such a superb title alongside such a wonderful team. I will miss the magazine and the team who create it immensely.”
The magazine caused an outcry seven years ago with a short-lived sponsorship deal with condom maker Durex. Critics said it was inappropriate for a title aimed at girls as young as 13, but the magazine said it was an “ideal platform to communicate important sexual health information”.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.