Sunday Telegraph sales slip despite new section

The Sunday Telegraph’s new review section has proved that a newspaper’s editorial innovation and advertising support are not as effective circulation builders as price cutting.

The newspaper’s September circulation was 672,172, a fall of 1.7 per cent on August, traditionally the weakest month for sales. The title was also down 1.2 per cent on September 1994, in which it sold 680,591.

The fall comes in spite of the new Sunday section, which has been widely promoted in a 1m poster campaign across London. It also follows 18 months of sustained growth for the title. The Sunday paper sold about 600,000 copies 18 months ago, but this has increased to around 700,000 for much of the past six months.

The circulation growth was provided by a price promotion that offered the Saturday Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph for 1. That promotion ended the week before the new section launched on September 17.

However, some Telegraph sources believe the new section is weak. “The first few issues were commissioned by a skeleton staff during the summer and some of the content needs to be sharpened up,” says one.

Marketing director David Pugh disagrees: “Readers like the new format and the figures were starting to come up again at the end of the month. We decided to spend our money on editorial instead of price.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here