The Express & Star has seen sales of its Stafford edition rise by at least 20 per cent a day following a substantial six-figure investment.
In April the edition was given a new look, and with the help of a new team of dedicated staff it is beginning to attract more readers.
Sales of the edition had been in decline, selling an average of just over 3,000, but instead of withdrawing from the town – home to the county council and crown court – the Express & Star has increased its resources.
The edition had previously been managed and produced at the Express & Star’s head office in Wolverhampton, but it now has its own dedicated news editor, four dedicated subs and a dedicated feature writer, as well as two additional reporters and a photographer all based in Stafford.
They also have regular contact with head office via a newly-introduced teleconference system.
The edition has also been given its own identity, with a new masthead, bigger pictures, longer stories and more white space.
Since the relaunch sales figures have been up by at least 20 per cent a day, with last Saturday’s edition selling 4,627 – 1,166 copies more than the previous year – an increase of 33 per cent.
And to further boost interest the paper has begun a large-scale canvassing operation in Stafford, giving households a free copy for a week with the aim of hooking them in and increasing sales even further.
In addition to an increase in sales the edition is also proving to be a useful test bed and similar changes could be made to some of the Express & Star’s other ten editions if feedback from readers is good.
Express & Star deputy editor Keith Harrison said: “It has been a great success so far.
“Staff have worked incredibly hard and we have been reaping the rewards in terms of sales and scoops. Long may it continue.”