Figures released last week reveal how five Johnston Press dailies [ including the Peterborough Telegraph ] that went weekly last year have suffered double-digit circulation declines since making the switch.
The official ABC figures also show how the four Northcliffe dailies that went weekly have seen a considerable drop off in sales including the Lincolnshire Echo, which saw circulation fall 19.8 per cent year on year to 20,660.
Among the Johnston titles that went weekly in May 2012 the Northamptonshire Telegraph was the worst-performing of the five, falling from an average of 23,590 at the end of June to 19,314 by the end of December – a drop of 18.1 per cent.
Over the same period the Peterborough Telegraph was down 16.2 per cent to 17,424, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo fell 14.8 per cent to 19,598 and the Halifax Courier dropped 12.7 per cent to 18,801.
The best performer was the Scarborough News, which saw a decline of 11.5 per cent from 16,736 to 14,806.
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There has now been a further development with Johnston Press now looking to axe one of the most successful regional newspaper editors in the country. Last week the Whitby Gazette in North Yorkshire was the fifth best-performing fully paid-for local weekly newspaper in the UK - with print sales growing 2.1 per cent to 9,540. This was despite the fact that the cover price increased from 55p to 90p in that period.
The news of the sales rise coincided with editor Jon Stokoe being being told his role was being put at risk of redundancy.
Stokoe is now understood to be on 'gardening leave' and the Whitby paper is being run by Scarborough News editor Ed Asquith.
In June 2012 chief executive Ashley Highfield told investors that early figures for the relaunched weeklies were positive and that the titles had averaged increased sales of 8 per cent against the pre-relaunch figures as dailies.
A similar downward trend was shared by the four Northcliffe (now Local World) papers that made the switch in 2011.
The first available year-on-year figures show sales of Exeter’s Express & Echo were down 18.8 per cent to 19,749, the Torquay Herald Express fell 14.3 per cent to 26,246 and the Scunthorpe Telegraph dropped 9.9 per cent to 18,268.
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