The magazine is to become a quarterly free supplement to GQ, a tacit admission by Conde Nast that, with sales of 65,000, GQ Active was failing to muscle in on the sales of the market leader, Men's Health.
It is the first reversal for some time in the ebullient men's magazine sector, and a sign that young men may be more interested in learning about ways to expand their beer bellies than in methods of burning them off. "In an increasingly crowded and competitive men's magazine market GQ Active will benefit from this change in strategy," a Conde Nast spokeswoman said yesterday.
She denied that the title had failed in its ambitions to rival Men's Health, which has monthly sales of 245,660, saying that the move was prompted by suggestions from the magazine's advertisers. GQ Active has amassed an impressive array of advertisers in its short life and they will undoubtedly benefit from the higher circulation of the main magazine.
The November issue will be the last one sold separately, and the first issue of the supplement is expected to be published at the beginning of next year, with a new editor, Simon Tiffin, taking over from the incumbent Simon Mills.
The decision makes clear financial sense for Conde Nast, which will keep its advertisers while cutting the cost of a separate monthly glossy publication, and increasing the appeal of GQ.
GQ has seen its circulation rally since appointing James Brown, the man behind Loaded's success, as editor in summer last year, though the increase has come at the expense of a plunge downmarket.