ABC cuts back Guardian surge

Guardian Newspapers has had several thousand copies slashed from its audited average net circulation after the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) scrutinised how the newspaper group categorised copies of The Guardian and the Observer placed in health clubs.

Guardian Newspapers claimed that the centres paid for the newspapers and they counted as “multiple-sales copies” for inclusion in the average figure of all copies sold (average net circulation). ABC has decided that because Guardian Newspapers paid a third-party sales and promotion company to display the newspapers in the health clubs, the newspaper group effectively paid the centres to take the papers.

Revised average net circulation ABC figures for August, September and October show Guardian sales for August 2001 to January of 410,038, up 3.13 per cent year on year. The previously issued figure was 416,066, up 4.65 per cent.

For the Observer the new figures from August 2001 to January are 461,752, up 4.18 per cent year on year. The previously stated figure was 472,673, up 6.64 per cent.

Guardian Newspapers circulation director Joe Clark says: “While we do not agree with the ABC’s ruling, Guardian Newspapers has changed the way it handles its multiple-copy sales, so that no further copies will be discounted.”

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