It comes as little surprise that celebrities continue to eclipse models on the covers of fashion magazines, but contrary to what some may think, not all A-list celebrities guarantee high sales numbers.  Even First Lady Michelle Obama doesn’t guarantee high sales figures.
The WWD rounded-up the sales figures for 2008, and the winners and losers may strike some as surprising.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations found that both Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham generated high sales, as does reality star Lauren Conrad, while Nicole Kidman, Carrie Underwood, and Rachel Weisz are the least bankable cover girls.
However, the cover girls that did not fare so well were often the ones on the January covers.  In addition to traditionally being a low sales month for magazines, this was also when the economic downturn really started gaining momentum. Further, while some stars may fare well on one cover, they may come out on the bottom on other publication’s covers.
Vogue’s October issue with Rachel Weisz was their weakest seller, with only 276,000 copies compared to their September Keira Knightley cover which sold 559,000 copies.  However, when Keira appeared on the June 2007 Vogue cover, it was the second lowest seller of that half of the year. Victoria Beckham’s sexy cover took the cake at Elle with 413,000 copies, while the December Carrie Underwood, cover only sold 253,611 copies.  


Angelina Jolie appears to be bankable across the board. Her July cover of Vanity Fair (504,785), and her November cover of W (78,000) were the best sellers for the year for each of those two titles. Katherine Heigl was Vanity Fair’s slowest seller with only 314,000 copies and Hilary Swank was the slowest for W with 27,000 copies sold.  Both of these were January issues.
In Style’s March issue with Eva Longoria Parker sold 888,912 compared to July’s cover with Anne Hathaway, which sold only 585,170 issues. Over at Marie Claire, the July cover with the stars of Sex and The City sold 440,948 copies compared to their December issue with Jennifer Connelly that moved only 191,000 copies. Harper’s Bazaar sold 213,195 copies of its March Lindsay Lohan cover, but only 119,501 copies in November with Drew Barrymore. 
More statistics:
  • Lucky’s September Milla Jovovich cover sold 336,000 issues, while their June issue with Amanda Peet sold a mere 205,000 copies.
  • Jessica Simpson’s June Glamour issue sold 775,000 issues, while Nicole Kidman’s December cover sold 460,000 copies (this is the lowest sales figure in recent history for Glamour).
  • Cosmopolitan sold nearly 2 million copies with Scarlett Johansson in August, but they sold 500,000 less when they put Jessica Simpson on the cover of their December issue, which is interesting given that she was the highest seller at Glamour.
  • Similarly, while Eva Longoria Parker and Johansson fared well on the covers of In Style and Cosmopolitan, they came out on the bottom with their Allure covers. Their November and December covers each sold only 190,000 copies compared to Victoria Beckham’s August cover which sold 273,000 copies (Beckham also came out on top over at Elle).
  • Reality star Lauren Conrad was the best seller for Shape selling 447,969 copies in January, while the November issue of Shape with Kelly Ripa only sold 258,200 copies.
  • Jennifer Lopez was the best seller for Self in September with 376,000 copies. Renée Zellweger was Self’s worst seller in October with that cover only selling 254,000 copies.