This time last year, The Independent was selling just over 225,000 copies a day and was down 1.7 per cent yearonyear.
Then came the compact edition at the end of September. Now the latest sales figures, for April, show the paper is averaging more than 260,000 – its best monthly figure for seven years – and is showing a year-on-year rise of 12.6 per cent.
No wonder the paper has gone totally tabloid, although there is some suggestion the novelty of the compact is wearing off. The Independent shows a month-on-month increase in April of only 0.9 per cent compared with March. The Guardian, which has stood firmly against a tabloid version, was up 1.4 per cent.
The Guardian, seen as the big loser to The Independent, was averaging sales of 398,778 in April last year, compared with its current 381,421. It has suffered a year-on-year fall of 6.5 per cent.
The Times’ tabloid version has made less impact than The Independent. Its sales in April were 654,762, compared with 642,637 in April 2003. However, the April figure was slightly down on March and The Times’ six-monthly yearonyear figure was nearly 3 per cent down. The Daily Telegraph has steadied and had a small month-on-month rise.
Sales of the tabloids remained sluggish in April, despite the flurry of Posh and Becks revelations. The Sun managed a small monthly rise but the News of the World, which scooped the Beckham story, was slightly down on March. The Daily Mirror’s final figure under Piers Morgan showed a year-onyear fall of 6.5 per cent.
The biggest sales drop came at The Business, down 37 per cent in a month because of the ending of its distribution agreement with The Mail on Sunday.