By Colin Crummy
The Sunday World came out fighting in the ABCs with its Northern Irish edition going up 5 per cent year-on-year, despite a campaign of intimidation by Loyalist paramilitaries against the title last year.
The weekly red-top’s circulation went up to 66,162 in Northern Ireland and up 0.4 per cent year-on-year with its Irish edition, to 206,142, against a backdrop of Loyalist threats aimed at the newspaper and newsagents in response to exposés on paramilitary drug-running and gangster-type activities in the province.
Editor Jim McDowell said: "We have taken on that [threat] and fought it off.
These figures are quite astonishing. A large percentage of our circulation is in council estates, which paramilitaries think they control, but we’re exposing them and people have stuck with us.
"When readers couldn’t get the paper in their local newsagents they have gone elsewhere and voted with their feet."
In England, all three Sunday titles were down year-on-year. The Sentinel Sunday and Sunday Mercury both went down more than 12 per cent and Newcastle’s Sunday Sun was down 5.7 per cent to 75,499.
Sunday Mercury editor David Brookes said competition from nationals "bombarding"
readers with cover mounts, demands on readers’ time and football fixtures on Sundays contributed to the sales decline.
"We have three Premiership teams in the area," said Brookes. "If one plays on a Sunday we find we do go down [in sales]. Readers are either waiting till Monday to buy a newspaper or missing it by travelling to matches."
Wales on Sunday was down 0.7 per cent, selling 47,724 copies, while the Scottish Sunday Post sold 468,414 copies, down 5.9 per cent.