Scotsman prepares London edition and enjoys rise in sales

The Scotsman newspaper is to launch a London edition just months after Andrew Neil, the former editor of the Sunday Times, joined the title as editor-in-chief.

The Scotsman newspaper is to launch a London edition just months

after Andrew Neil, the former editor of the Sunday Times, joined the

title as editor-in-chief.



The move, which comes only weeks before the general election, is part of

the Edinburgh-based paper’s bid to place Scotland and the issue of

devolution firmly on the agenda south of the border.



The historic decision signals a major offensive against the Scotsman’s

English rivals, which have put the title under increasing circulation

pressure at home. In particular, the Daily Mail’s Scottish circulation

has grown from next to nothing to close to 120,000 over the past two

years.



However, the Scotsman’s circulation has held up reasonably well. The ABC

figure for July to December, due out next week, will show sales up

fractionally year on year at 77,057. This compares with 76,961 for the

same period the previous year, although it is down on the 77,663 average

sales recorded for the first half of 1996.



Press buyers in London were dismissive. Greg Grimmer, board account

director at CIA Medianetwork, said: ’The major city in Scotland is

Glasgow; the Scotsman has not conquered that yet, maybe it should

concentrate on there before London.’



Bert Hardy, chief executive of the Scotsman, said: ’It will be a slow

start. I don’t think we are going to be putting any of the nationals out

of business. I hope that we would be selling around 8,000 copies by the

end of the first year.’



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