ABCs: Standard turns corner as Scottish press suffers

The Evening Standard has breathed its first sigh of relief since the launch of two free London papers which has driven the paper's circulation into free fall.

Although the Standard reported a year on year drop of 14.2 per cent in the latest set of ABCs this pales into insignificance compared to last month's devastating 27.7 per cent drop which has prompted a major consumer and trade advertising campaigns.

Its February figure is up 5.1 per cent month on month, from 263,095 to 276,562.

Editor Veronica Wadley said: "These figures prove that the Evening Standard has a loyal and committed audience who want the in-depth, news, analysis and comment, together with brilliant reviews and feature writing that is provided by the paper."

The Scotsman was hard hit with a 10 per cent year on year drop. Former Portsmouth News editor Mike Gilson who took up the paper's editorship in September last year was seen as a controversial choice by some as a regional newspaper editor and having not lived in Scotland before.

Gilson is currently undertaking a survey among staff and readers asking what they want from the paper.

The Scottish market as a whole performed badly in the latest period with the Record down 7.64 per cent year-on-year, Scotland on Sunday down 9.31 per cent and the Sunday Herald down 7.19 per cent.

Among the hardest hit papers were the Sunday Sport which plummeted by 29.50 and the People which was down 11.95 per cent.

The only papers to put on sales were the Financial Times (up 0.48 per cent) which could still be reaping the benefits of its increased foreign sales, the Mail on Sunday (up 0.87 per cent) and the Independent on Sunday (up 1.61 per cent).

The Independent on Sunday's considerable increase was helped with a series of CDs including Bird Song and Improve Your Brain Power.

The Daily Mail is still among the front runners in terms of performance with a small 0.23 per cent drop in sales to 2,357,623. The paper has been helped its new Irish edition and heavy promotional activity.

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