Standard boosts bulk copies to post first ABC rise in two years

The London Evening Standard is celebrating what it claims is its first year-on-year circulation increase since the terrorist attacks of July 2005.

Its headline ABC figure of 291,150 was up 0.66 per cent on the September 2006 figure of 289,264.

However, the Standard now gives away 91,040 in bulks, compared with 60,302 a year ago.

The Sun was another relatively big circulation winner in the latest set of monthly ABC circulation results. It cut its price to 20p in London at the beginning of September and employed vendors to tout the paper outside key commuter points.

The result was a negligible circulation drop of 0.1 per cent year on year, keeping the sale comfortably above the psychological three-million mark.

The Daily Mirror did not appear to have taken a knock as a result of The Sun’s price cutting, limiting its annual sales decline to three per cent – an improvement on recent performances.

The only national dailies to put on sales year on year were the Daily Star – up 0.39 per cent to 803,726 – and the Financial Times – up 2.13 per cent to 441,219.

Press Gazette’s graph charting the circulation performance of the daily red-tops shows that their year-on-year sales declines have slowed down in recent months.

In the quality market, however, alarm bells are likely to be ringing at The Guardian, which was the worst-performing of any UK-wide daily – dropping 5.56 per cent to 367,546.

Despite two TV-supported promotions – Great Interviews of the 20th Century and a Free Guide to Adventure – the title is evidently feeling the effects of a price rise near the beginning of the month to 80p in the week and £1.50 on Saturdays.

In the Sunday market, the Daily Star Sunday continues to feel the benefits of some hefty promotional spending from owner Richard Desmond. CD giveaways in September included The Stranglers, Bob Marley and The Ramones – helping it to a 20.9 per cent year-on-year rise to 485,415.

Other titles managing to grow sales were the Sunday Mirror, up 0.91 per cent to 1,451,980; the Mail on Sunday, up 0.12 per cent to 2,348,982, and The Observer, up 3.11 per cent to 472,252.

The Sunday Mirror’s 100 per cent paid-for sale appears to have been helped by Madeleine McCann exclusives, such as the interview with mother Kate and the damning exposé of the Portuguese police chief.

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