Price cuts and colour give the Standard a sales boost

The Evening Standard's full-colour redesign and resumption of targeted 20p price cuts saw its sales rise significantly in May.

Month-on-month, the 8.29 per cent rise to 341,983 is impressive — although it couldn't quite wipe out a year-on-year drop of 1.98 per cent. But that will still be well ahead of the performance of all the other national papers in the tough London market.

The Daily Mirror's 8.23 per cent drop year-on-year to 1,634,006 is a disappointing comedown after the Prescott affair scoop of April. It leaves the Mirror well behind the much better-promoted Sun, which was only down 2.52 per cent year on year to 3,149,029 in the difficult red-top market.

The Mirror was only 1.27 per cent down month-on-month, and the big year-on-year drop was largely down to the good figures of a year ago, fuelled by Liverpool's European Cup win and a successful DVD promotion.

A deluge of promotions helped the Daily Mail increase its sale by 1.33 per cent year-on-year in May to 2,390,324. Giveaways included classic British films on DVD, ‘learn Spanish' CDs and aerial photos.

The quality market, which has been growing in recent months, shrunk by 0.94 per cent as a whole. Only The Guardian and the Financial Times managed year-on-year gains.

The Guardian was up 2.32 per cent year-on-year to 381,188 thanks to the diminishing Berliner relaunch effect.

The FT managed a healthy 4.61 per cent year-on-year rise to 451,153 — mainly due to increased sales in the US.

While UK circulation dropped from 135,260 a year ago to 133,676, US edition sales rose from 117,849 to 144,064.

Times editor Robert Thomson will be pleased if he can pull off a similar trick with his paper's US edition, which launched in New York this month. The Times slipped back 3.09 per cent yearon- year to 663,543 and tabloid rival The Independent dropped 2.21 per cent yearon- year to 257,226.

New daily betting paper The Sportsman edged up 2.36 per cent month-on-month from a launch figure of 21,819 in April to 22,333.

Actual paid-for sales are still well short of its stated break-even circulation figure of 40,000. Excluding bulks, it dropped from 16,315 to 12,762.

The 80-odd journalists working at its Hammersmith headquarters will be hoping that the World Cup can improve the paper's fortunes.

In the tough Sunday red-top market, the slimly resourced People is finding the going particularly tough — down 10.06 per cent year on year to 838,417.

The Mail on Sunday was helped by a tie-in with the daily title's Spanish CD series, plus giveaways of X-Men game cards and a DVD of the Gene Hackman film Under Suspicion to help a healthy 3.92 per cent year-on-year sales rise to 2,341,605.

The Observer slipped back well below the half-million mark after its heavily promoted Berliner relaunch of January.

The 460,939 sales figure was still up 4.33 per cent year on year.

A Spanish phrasebook giveaway helped The Independent on Sunday's 10.03 per cent year-on-year rise to 227,337.

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