Newspaper ABCs: Guardian rebrand fails to boost print sales

By John McCarthy | Media editor

The Guardian


abc article

March 15, 2018 | 3 min read

The Guardian’s circulation continues to decline despite its high-profile January rebrand, which replaced the Berliner format with tabloid dimensions in addition to a new look and feel.

Figures from ABC for February (the first complete month since its relaunch) found that The Guardian's year-on-year circulation was down 3.25% to an average of 149.5k a day. A third of these were from paid subscriptions, the rest from single copy sales at £2 an issue.

The Guardian rebrand

The Guardian's rebrand

The move away from Berliner will help absorb the lower sales and could aid in ad revenue by bringing the paper in line with common formats, however.

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Despite a 0.25% year-on-year decline, free title The Metro (1.472m) has overtaken The Sun to have the biggest UK newspaper circulation. The Sun fell 7.27% but remains Britain's best-selling daily newspaper at 1.465m.

The steepest year-on-year declines were at The Mirror Group (the Daily Mirror and Daily Record), which was down 18.17% for the year, shifting shy of 700,000 units; the Daily Telegraph, down 18% to 374.7k; and the Daily Mail, down 11% to 1,294,214). The scale of the losses for all three publishers, however, can be in part attributed to them ending the practice of 'bulk' sales to airports and hotels where copies are given away for free.

The Financial Times was down by 2.92% (178.8k) for the year and 5.63% for the month after being the only paid-for newspaper to report print growth a month earlier. The Times was down 2.37% (430k) and Johnston Press’ i down 4.4% to 254k.


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The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was known from 1821 until 1959 as the Manchester Guardian. Along with its sister papers The Observer and the Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust.

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