Johnston closes free weekly, Northcliffe bids for Topper

Johnston Press will publish the final edition of its weekly free weekly The Scarborough Trader next month.

The company has blamed the ‘tough trading environment’for the decision to close the title, which it claimed would allow it to focus ‘all editorial and commercial effort’on its sister title, the paid-for Scarborough Evening News.

The final edition of the paper, which had a circulation of 21,000, comes out on 8 September. Johnston said no jobs will be lost as a result of the decision.

A statement released today said: ‘The Scarborough Trader, a 21,000 copy free newspaper, will be published for the last time on Thursday 8 September .

‘In a tough trading environment, this move is to focus all editorial and commercial effort on the paid-for newspaper, The Scarborough Evening News. There is no impact on editorial jobs.”

Northcliffe in acquisition talks

The news comes after Northcliffe Media‘s decision last month to close its free weekly series in Nottingham, the Nottingham Recorder, the Nottingham & Long Eaton Recorder and the Mansfield & Ashfield Recordered last week.

Today, however, the company confirmed that it was in talks to buy the The Nottingham and Long Eaton Topper, the only freesheet that remained in the area following the closure of the Recorder series.

Northcliffe said it was negotiating with the newspaper’s independent owners Topper Newspapers Ltd, the company established by freesheet pioneer Lionel Pickering in 1995.

In a statement the company said: ‘The Nottingham Post Media Group has entered into negotiations to acquire the Nottingham and Long Eaton Topper.

‘There are a number of commercial and legal matters to be resolved which we are working through with the owners and the management of the Topper. Provided these can be agreed on, we would hope to close the deal later this year.”

Group managing director Steve Auckland added: ‘We believe the Topper would make an excellent addition to the Nottingham Post business and provide an excellent portfolio with the Post for advertisers seeking to attract consumers in Nottingham.”

The latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation show the Topper has a weekly circulation of 212,793.

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