September ABCs: Sun 20p price cut pays off, sales dip for Guardian

The Evening Standard was this week celebrating what it claimed was 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.

Associated Newspapers said that Standard paid-for sales were up 9.7 per cent month-on-month due to what they said was “a very strong news month”. They will be hoping that this month the Standard will feel the benefits of the Eros card payment system and a big marketing push.

Elsewhere, The Sun was another big circulation winner in relative terms. It cuts 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 psychologically vital 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 sales decline to three per cent year on year, well ahead of previous performances in recent months.

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.

Alarm bells are likely to be ringing at The Guardian, which was the worst-tperforming of any UK-wide daily – dropping 5.56 per cent to 367,546.

In the Sunday market, the Daily Star Sunday continues to feel the benefits of some hefty promotional spending from owner Richard Desmond. CD give-aways in September included The Stranglers, Ian Jury and the Blockheads, Bob Marley and the Ramones helping it to 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.

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