Price-cutting papers make strong gains: Warring broadsheets each estimated to have added 70,000 daily sales

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The Independent Online
PRICE-CUTTING by the Times and Telegraph has boosted their daily circulations by around 70,000 copies each, according to preliminary industry estimates.

The Times, which cut its weekday price to 20p last Thursday, is now believed to be selling around 585,000 copies a day, compared with about 518,000 in the three weeks before the price cut. The Telegraph, at 30p, is selling around 1.07 million copies.

The figures probably understate the increase in the sales of the Monday to Friday Telegraph. The paper's Saturday edition - which has held its price at 70p - is probably diluting the extent of weekday gain. The Telegraph's Saturday circulation is thought to be stable at about 1.18 million copies.

The Telegraph itself claims to have increased its Monday to Friday circulation by around 80,000 copies a day.

The Times, which has dropped its Saturday cover price by 10p to 30p, is thought to have boosted its weekend sales by around 60,000 and may now be selling more than 600,000 copies.

Losers in the circulation war appear to have been the Guardian, Independent and Express, which were selling 405,000, 277,000 and 1.34 million respectively shortly before the latest round of price- cutting. Their weekday circulations are estimated to have dropped by 2 per cent.

That would amount to around 40,000 lost copies a day, suggesting the market has expanded by around 100,000 new buyers a day - although considerable 'double purchasing' is likely.

The Daily Mail, widely tipped to lose out to the Telegraph's lower price, appears to be holding its circulation steady at about 1.7 million, but only on the back of heavy promotion, including a 'win a mortgage' competition, with television advertising estimated to have cost pounds 650,000.