Women’s magazines appear to have been the big losers as US newsstand sales slumped in the first half.

Several women’s titles have reported major newsstand downturns that dwarf the estimated 5% decline across the industry. For example, Family Circle (Gruner + Jahr) and Woman’s Day (Hachette Filipacchi Media US) saw sales slide 28.6% and 20.6% respectively.

Theories abound for the sharp dip in distaff-oriented publications. Both Family Circle and Woman’s Day raised prices during a weak economy. Poor weather, war jitters and continuing economic uncertainty also played a part.

At Good Housekeeping (Hearst), sales suffered as readers sought to save money. “People were panicking,” declared editor-in-chief Ellen Levine, “and saving small amounts [of cash] wherever they could.”

Other explanations include the rising number of publications in the women’s market and changes in supermarkets – a major distribution outlet for female titles – that limit the opportunities to see magazines on the shelf.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff