The struggling Independent News & Media’s two main UK titles, The Independent and the Sunday Independent, continue to lose readers, with the Sunday title seemingly in terminal decline.

At the same time, Rupert Murdoch’s London Sun has had another underwhelming month, tumbling under the 3 million copies a day threshold, to be down more than 5% over the last 12 months.

The Sunday Independent was the worst performer, with sales down nearly 27% over the year to April. The slide slowed last month with the paper losing 2,000 copies as day, but the damage has been done.

Sales fell from 225,000 to just over 165,000 in April (127,000 without bulk sales, which are either free or at a discount). On that basis, fully paid sales fell 21.8% in the year to April.

The Monday to Friday Independent‘s circulation of 204,429 in April was down 0.43% compared with March and a huge 16.1% year-on-year.

INM’s deadline for repaying or rolling over a 200 million euro loan is now less than 10 days away. The company can’t sell any of its assets because there are no buyers willing to pay anywhere near the amount it wants.

For the Pearson-owned Financial Times, a rise in the cover price proved more delicate for its buyers than the need to get the latest on financial and economic problems.

Despite the financial crisis and economic slump generating headlines, the Financial Times saw a fall of 2.5%, to 421,059 a day, after lifting the price of the Monday to Friday and weekend editions.

The FT‘s sales are now down 6% on April last year, according to this table on the MediaGuardian website after the UK Audit Bureau of Circulations issued its latest monthly sales figures.

The FT had an average daily circulation of 122,286 in the UK and Eire, its Europe edition sold 118,250, its Asia edition 37,030 and the US edition 143,473.

The Guardian was the only daily to post a month-on-month rise in circulation in April, despite a 10p rise in the cover price to £1.70. Its sales rose 0.7% to 343,259 a day. But sales were down more than 2% over the year.

Sunday paper sales were down with the Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World off 8% in April from March and more than 6% over the year. News’ other title, The Sunday Times, posted a 1.62% year-on-year rise, although it was down 1.5% fall from March to 1,221,683 copies.

The Sunday Telegraph recorded a circulation of 590,970 in April, down 1.45% month-on-month, but off a sharper 7.19% on a year ago.

Murdoch’s Sun was the second worst performer among the so-called ‘red tops’ or tabloids.

The Daily Mirror was the top underperformer, losing 10.5% of its sales over the year (after a 5p cover price rise to 45p in January of this year). It was down 1.4% in April from March.

But The Sun (30p cover price), saw 5.56% slide in sales over the full year to 2.957 million copies, from 3.068 million in March of this year. April saw The Sun shed a nasty 3.6% of its sales, or over 100,000 copies a day.

It was The Sun‘s third fall under the 3 million copies a day mark in the past five months.

Peter Fray

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