Price-cutting helps Sun to year-on-year ABC increase

The Sun’s 20p price-cutting strategy helped it achieve a second consecutive year-on-year rise in circulation in February – with sales up 0.15 per cent to 3,077,060.

Some 976,557 copies were sold at a discount – mainly in Scotland and the south-east of England – meaning The Sun’s circulation rise comes at a huge cost in terms of copy sales revenue lost.

The Sun has been discounting in some regions – Scotland and north-west England – for more than 12 months.

The paper’s managing editor Graham Dudman said the rise was not simply down to price-cutting but also good journalism and effective marketing.

“We are absolutely delighted by our second consecutive year-on-year monthly increase,” he said.

“For anyone to dismiss this purely as price-cutting is plain wrong. We were price-cutting last year and the reason The Sun is up year on year is because of fantastic journalism and great marketing and promotion.”

He pointed to stories such as the video of Paul Burrell admitting he lied to the Princess Diana inquest and coverage of three high-profile murder cases as being big hits with readers in the last month.

The other stand-out performer in the national dailies is The Financial Times – which again put on sales year on year, this time by 0.69 per cent to 448,342.

Far from price-cutting, the FT‘s sales rise has come after raising the cover price from £1 to £1.50. It sold 137,945 copies in the UK and Ireland; 152,240 in the US, 123,287 in Europe and 34,871 in Asia.

Chief executive John Ridding said: ‘The quality of circulation, which is our priority, continues to strengthen, with subscriptions accounting for about one third of our sale”

The London Evening Standard was able to display a 8.31 per cent year-on-year circulation rise to 288,157 helped by an increase in bulk give-away copies. An average of 99,913 Evening Standard copies a day were given away as bulks in February.

The biggest fallers in January were in the Sunday market.

The People – which still does not have a permanent replacement editor following the departure of Mark Thomas in November – dropped 12.35 per cent year on year to 653,909. Three years ago it was selling over a million a week.

The Sunday Sport was another big faller, down 12.88 per cent to 85,974, in the month before its ‘lads’ mag’style relaunch.

The Sunday Express fell 17.17 per cent year-on-year to 676,165.

There was better news at The Observer, where new editor John Mulholland achieved a 4.95 per cent year-on-year rise to 464,005

Daily and Saturday papers
Daily Mirror – 1,500,543 (down 4.06% year on year)
Daily Record – 394,189 (down 4.52%)
Daily Star – 723,905 (down 7.08%)
Daily Sport – 100,055 (no year-on-year comparison)
The Sun – 3,077,060 (up 0.15%)
Daily Express – 736,634 (down 3.28%)
Daily Mail – 2,294,880 (down 1.92%)
Daily Telegraph – 866,693 (down 3.32%)
Financial Times – 448,342 (up 0.69%)
The Herald – 66,795 (down 6.73%)
The Guardian – 355,634 (down 2.43%)
The Independent – 252,435 (down 4.45%)
The Scotsman – 53,520 (down 7.93%)
The Times – 613,068 (down 4.61%)
Saturday Sport – 60,555 (down 2.71%)
Racing Post – 62,983 (down 2.70%)
Evening Standard – 288,157 (up 8.31%)

Sunday papers
Daily Star Sunday – 366,523 (down 4.57%)
News of the World – 3,281,287 (down 2.67%)
Sunday Mail – 484,331 (down 4.77%)
Sunday Mirror – 1,348,395 (down 1.92%)
The People – 653,909 (down 12.35%)
Sunday Sport – 85,974 (no year-on-year comparison)
Sunday Express – 676,165 (down 17.17%)
Sunday Post – 401,909 (down 6.76%)
Mail on Sunday – 2,203,642 (down 2.67%)
Independent on Sunday – 228,012 (down 4.83%)
The Observer – 464,005 (up 4.95%)
Scotland on Sunday – 67,572 (down 6.84%)
Sunday Herald – 49,091 (down 9.70%)
Sunday Telegraph – 633,193 (down 5.17%)
Sunday Times – 1,206,247 (down 3.15%)

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