Five months into its radical relaunch the Birmingham Mail claims it is "firmly on course", despite sales falling since its revamp last October.
Trinity said sales are expected to show a slight downturn when the ABC figures are released next month. The company claims the fall will reflect the sampling of 54,500 free copies each week and the loss of circulation among older, traditional readers. It is predicted the downward trend will stabilise in the final quarter of this year.
On the up side, Trinity said new content aimed at young families and home delivery are winning new readers.
Editor Steve Dyson said: "We’d done nothing for years and this time we knew we had to do something major. We knew it would cause traditional readers to question what we’d done, and more people than we thought reacted to that.
"But at the same time we’ve had some really encouraging results from the new market we are aiming at.
"We need to heavily canvass the new market in a more concentrated and direct way because we are having returns of up to 18 per cent from people we’ve sampled."
As well as the free give-aways, Trinity claimed Mail sales had been hit by the exclusion of race cards from some copies due to earlier production times, the worst performance of its local Premiership clubs — Birmingham City, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion — in 10 years, and the fact that the paper continues to operate in an extremely tough market.
Trinity said revitalising the sales of the Birmingham Mail is not a quick fix, but a long-term project, the success of which will be judged over years rather than months.