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New weekly aims to double closed daily’s circulation

Regional publisher Newsquest says its new weekly title in Oldham is set to sell twice as many copies as the regional daily it aims to replace.

As reported on HTFP, the first issue of the Oldham Times hit the streets yesterday and sold out within hours, resulting in an additional print run being ordered.

The launch followed the closure last month of the Oldham Chronicle after 163 years of publication with the loss of 49 jobs.

Although Newsquest has declined to give precise figures on the Times’ initial print run, the company has revealed that it now expects its weekly sale to double the Chronicle’s last audited circulation figure of 6,408.

A spokesman said: “We now expect The Oldham Times to sell twice the amount of copies that the Oldham Chronicle was selling – a 100pc increase.”

Newsquest faces a three-way battle for newspaper supremacy in the town, with Trinity Mirror having unveiled a new Oldham edition of the Manchester Evening News and hyperlocal publisher Quest Media also entering the market with its cut-price Oldham Reporter.

A number of former Oldham Chronicle journalists have been recruited to produce local content for the new title, which is edited by Bolton News editor Ian Savage and priced at 80p.

One of the company’s commercial managers, Mark Fry, posted on LinkedIn yeserday that one town centre newsgent sold out of copies three times.

“I have been in Oldham today helping launch the title and what a day it has been. The newsagent I was with all day sold out three times and we had to replenish the stock,” he wrote.

“One agent in the centre sold over 400 copies. The newsagent I spent the day with said he had been in Oldham for nine years and he had never sold as many papers in one day.

Said Ian: “The focus has been on gathering community news and sport to give as wide a coverage as possible. We have been able to provide the kind of local, relevant stories that I hope readers want and will enjoy.

“Thanks to our journalists who know Oldham so well and have worked there for many years. Now that we are up and running, we anticipate the content will go from strength to strength.”

Nick Fellows, managing director for Newsquest North West, said: “The early signs are very encouraging. The town of Oldham has responded overwhelmingly to the launch of The Oldham Times.

“Sales have been nothing short of outstanding; the new title has certainly won the backing of both the general public and the local business community.”