MGN board admits 'Mirror' price rise has lost sales

THE board of Mirror Group Newspapers yesterday admitted that the decision to increase the cover price of the Daily Mirror by 2p to 27p earlier this year has allowed its main rival, the Sun, to claw back a sales advantage.

September's Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, published today, will show that for the first time since March, sales of the Sun will outstrip the combined sales of the Daily Mirror and its Scottish sister title, the Daily Record.

The News International title sold 3,628,000 copies in September, a rise of 45,000 from the August figures, which are depressed because readers are on holiday. The combined Mirror and Record figures show sales of 3,601,000, only 11,000 up from August when the MGN titles were boosted by the pictures of the Duchess of York on holiday with her financial adviser.

This reverses a trend since the death of Robert Maxwell, last November, in which the Mirror first narrowed the gap over the Sun and then, in April, took a lead over its rival for the first time in more than a decade.

Vic Horwood, MGN's chief executive, said yesterday that the price rise strategy had been a success. 'The fact that they are so little ahead of us makes me very confident about the underlying strength of the Mirror and Record.'

However, his position is at odds with that previously stated by Roger Eastoe, MGN's advertising director, who told the Independent in August that the price rise strategy would only be judged a success if the MGN titles could maintain their circulation advantage over the Sun. However, MGN's expectation that News International would increase the Sun's cover price in September has not been met. The Sun's vigorous advertising of its price advantage indicated that it will maintain the price war for some time.

Shareholders had some good news to coincide with the group announcement of half-year pre-tax profits of pounds 15.3m. Indications were that a provision of more than pounds 40m to cover potential losses on guarantees given by MGN to other Maxwell companies may not be called up.

The guarantees covered the rent of two derelict buildings on the northern fringes of the City over which MGN guaranteed a rental income of pounds 5.25m now, rising to pounds 7.75m from September 1995. MGN has refused to pay these guarantees and the matter is subject to litigation from the receivers of the Maxwell companies owning those buildings.

Alan Clements, MGN's deputy chairman, said he was confident MGN would not have to pay the rents, although it was not keen to write back the provision until the litigation is cleared.

Otherwise the position on the finances of the company has not materially changed since the group published its report and accounts, showing provisions of nearly pounds 500m, in July.

View from City Road, page 25

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea