Sales war hots up as rebel weekly hits Staffs shelves

By Dominic Ponsford

The Northcliffe rebels behind new independent weekly Your Leek Paper are celebrating after selling 5,000 copies in its first week on sale.

The paper was launched last month in the Staffordshire market town of Leek by seven former employees of established paper the Leek Post & Times. The editor, production manager and advertising manager were among those to leave the formerly family-owned title after it was bought out by Northcliffe Newspapers.

At the time they said: “It’s all about giving Leek back its independence.”

The first two editions of Your Leek Paper had a print run of 10,000 and were given away. It went on sale for the first time last Wednesday at 30p a copy. The Leek Post and Times also comes out on a Wednesday, is priced at 35p and has a circulation of 12,000.

Your Leek Paper editor Gary Shenton said: “We had orders for just under 4,900 from newsagents but within a few hours of going on sale we had requests for more copies.”

The front-page lead was an exclusive story about a local man facing an 18-month wait for a heart operation, which included comments from leading surgeons who said they felt as frustrated as their patients.

Shenton said: “We were thinking that if we sold 3,500 in the first week it would be a good start. To sell over 5,000 is tremendous. Obviously we are hoping to build on that. We’ve already taken on another member of staff and advertised for another reporter.

“We have been very well received. I got a standing ovation when I was introduced while taking pictures of a presentation at a working men’s club.

“If we can get up to 10,000 sales over the next 12 months that would be brilliant. We want to convince the public that we are a really good read and that we do mean business.”

According to Leek Post & Times editor Doug Pickford, so far the competition has shown signs of boosting his paper’s circulation.

He said: “It’s not usually my policy to comment on any so-called opposition. But I will say that our sales were up by 610 copies, or 5.07 per cent, in the week of their launch.”

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