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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Newstrade sales Boom at The Grocer! No - Really - Its True!

William Reeds, The Grocer, has just posted a single issue audit. Normally we would let these things pass as we are engaged on headier matters, but you will remember my post about the decline in paid circ in b2b. The Grocers single issue audit, dated January, shows a circ of 29631, a 4% drop on the last audit period average.

At first sight alarming. However the reason for the fall is that WR has reduced the number of free copies by 3000 or so . Newstrade sales are up a staggering 4300 but subs are down 1700.

If this reflects what will happen on their annual return, why show a fall in total circ on a single issue audit caused entirely by a publishing decision to reduce free copies. Their rivals will make hay.

My guess is that this single issue audit is a wierd single issue up blip in newstrade sales. All the growth has come from discounted single issue sales. The average, I predict, will be much worse and this is an attempt to prop up a weakening ad sales story.

If newstrade sales have not really grown (and it would be surprising if they had) the average issue certificate could be as low as 23000 when it is published in September - and thats a melt down.

If I were an advertiser, I would want some assurances from The Grocer that the growth in newstrade sales implied by the single issue audit, was reflected across the period. Otherwise I would be forced to reduce my spend.

Lets be clear, there is no point in publishers pretending that things aren't bad and hoping it will get better before anyone notices. WR are a pro outfit, so lets just hope they aren't simply delaying bad news and that this single issue rise in newstrade sales reflects the performance over the audit period.

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