A dramatic set of figures shows the relaunched Daily Mirror apparently losing its price war with The Sun. The Mirror, which retains a 20p price in the Carlton region, dropped 6 per cent year on year to 2,094,000 while its tabloid rival, selling at 20p nationwide and 10p in the Carlton region, boasts a 2.6 per cent increase to 3,611,000.
The Daily Star, which has also slashed its price to 10p in the Carlton region, has posted an impressive 17 per cent year-on-year increase to 736,000, which includes sales of slightly less than one million for Saturday 27 July, the title's highest selling issue for 16 years. Meanwhile the Star's mid-market sister title, the Daily Express, has made up ground on the stable Daily Mail with a 4 per cent increase to 993,000.
Rival publishers were quick to question the apparent gains made by the News International and Express Newspapers titles, putting their surging performances down to increased bulk and foreign sales. In response, Express Newspapers claims that its new Mediterranean print sites, which ensure copies are circulated on their cover date, will guarantee a higher take-up of foreign issues for its titles.
The Mirror's circulation director, Wally Cowley, said the figures reflected Mirror Group Newspapers' recent decision to strip out all bulk sales. "It's not surprising that The Sun is up when the majority of its copies were sold at reduced price, he added. "Heavy investment in price-cutting and TV advertising has inflated its sale but 23,000 of the extra sales are still attributed to an increase in foreign circulation."