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Just 14 paid-for weeklies record sales increases

Just 14 paid-for weekly titles in the UK recorded sales increases for the first half of the year, the latest ABC figures have shown.

The best-performing title in mainland Britain was the Brentwood Gazette, which saw its circulation increase 6.4pc, although 17.5pc of its circulation came from free pick-ups.

The Gazette’s increase has come about after the paper launched its new free Romford edition in April, with pick-ups accounting for 1,923 of its 12,731 average sales figure.

Editor Nev Wilson said: “We’ve had a great start to the year with some cracking stories which have given us a boost in sales. We’re only a small team but work incredibly hard so this news is fantastic.

“The rise must however be viewed in context of our new pick-up Romford edition of the paper, which was launched in April and has broadened our readership and appeal.”

Four Northern Ireland titles saw sales increases for the first half of the year, with the Ballymena Times at 6.7pc, the Tyrone Times at 3.5pc, the Derry News’ Thursday edition at 2.1pc and the Impartial Reporter at 0.1pc.

English titles with circulation rises included the Leighton Buzzard Observer at 2.9pc, the Morpeth Herald at 2.3pc, the Whitby Gazette at 1.2pc, the Lytham St Annes Express at 1pc, the Sidmouth Herald at 0.7pc, the Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury at 0.2pc and the Rugby Advertiser at 0.2pc.

Two Scottish titles saw their sales grow, the Milngavie & Bearsden Herald at 0.5pc and the Border Telegraph at 0.2pc, but no Welsh titles recorded increases.

Among the worst-performing weekly titles were the paid-for Dover Express which saw its sales fall 67.9pc and free titles the Preston Reporter and the Lancaster and Morecambe Reporter, down 51.7pc and 51.6pc respectively.

And the Croydon Advertiser, which is 74.6pc free, saw its circulation drop 44.4pc, after reducing its free distribution by around 35,000 copies in the last year.

The full list of how all the UK weeklies performed can be viewed here.