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
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
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
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.’