Sun attacks Mirror claim of sales turnaround

News Group Newspapers, the Sun’s publisher, has hit out at the Mirror Group after its rival issued a press release this week trumpeting the reversal of its long-running sales slide.

News Group Newspapers, the Sun’s publisher, has hit out at the

Mirror Group after its rival issued a press release this week trumpeting

the reversal of its long-running sales slide.



The Mirror recorded a rare month-on-month increase in April, according

to the latest circulation figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations,

chalking up sales of 2.39 million, a month-on-month rise of 1 per

cent.



All other tabloids except the Daily Mail witnessed a fall in sales. The

Sun slid by more than 5 per cent month on month, down from just over

four million to 3.84 million. The figure, as the Mirror’s press release

points outs, represents a year-on-year decline of 4.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Mirror’s year-on-year rate of decline slowed, falling

from 5.9 per cent in January this year to 2.9 per cent in April.



Mirror executives attributed the paper’s rejuvenation to the

high-profile pounds 16 million relaunch that took place earlier this

year (Campaign, 10 January).



The paper’s editor, Piers Morgan, commented: ’We said at the beginning

it was a two-year campaign to change the Mirror. Now we’re four months

in, it’s time to judge us by our results. The changes we have made are

obviously working.’



However, Ellis Watson, the marketing director of News Group, retorted:

’This is a shameful sham.’ Watson claimed the increase was due to a

flights promotion, price-cutting in Scotland, a free and reduced price

trial offer that was direct mailed to 400,000 homes and an increase in

bulk sales.



The Sun’s decline was inevitable, he said, because in March it had ’the

single most successful sales promotion in newspaper history’. Sales of

the Sun were up 117,000 in March from Feb-ruary’s 3.9 million.



Roger Eastoe, deputy managing director of Mirror Group, said: ’We have

been marketing the Mirror in a number of different ways, such as theme

advertising and direct mail. Bulk sales represent an insignificant part

of our sales. The flights promotion was just one part of the marketing

armoury we have working for us.’



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