31/03/2014 16:33 BST | Updated 31/03/2014 19:59 BST

Nuts, Men's Weekly Magazine Most Famous For 'Nipple Count' Rivalry With Zoo, Is To Close, Says IPC

Stephen Kelly/PA Archive
A general view of men's magazines, 'Zoo' and 'Nuts'. Parents expressed concern tonight after school inspectors praised teen magazines for educating children about sex.

Nuts, the men’s weekly perhaps most famous for its rivalry with Zoo, is to close, the publisher has announced. The magazine, which was launched in 2004, attracted huge initial circulation figures as did that of its competitor, published by Bauer Media.

The subsequent enmity, which was played up in both magazines to their mutual benefit, and a one point escalated to a "nipple count" arms race, pushed sales of Nuts to more than 300,000, reshaping the men’s lifestyle market, which had hitherto had been dominated by less risqué monthly offerings, such as Loaded and FHM.

Nuts also helped launch (or sustain) the career of a number of British female celebrities during its early years, most notably Abi Titmuss, who often appeared on the magazine's cover, while for many female contestants the door out of the Big Brother house usually led to a shoot for the magazine's pages, invariably via a lingerie shop.

However, despite being marketed by IPC within the lifestyle sector, Nuts was often criticised for its sexist portrayal of women, with detractors suggesting the publication was better homed on the top shelf next to the pornography. Sales began to drop off for both magazines after 2007, with Nuts posting figures as low as 53,000 in 2013, their decline no doubt ensured by the increasing abundance of sexual content available on the web.

According to IPC, the company has entered into a 30-day consultation period with the 25 staff that are employed across the print magazine and the online arm. Speaking to HuffPost UK, a source at Nuts said the staff "were not surprised" at the closure due to the declining readership, but added it had been an "amazing ten years keeping British men amused".

Reported by the Guardian, Paul Williams, managing director of IPC’s Inspiring division, said: "After 10 years at the top of its market, we have taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of Nuts and exit the young men's lifestyle sector. IPC will provide impacted staff with all the support they need during the consultation process."