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Saturday now ‘strongest’ day for i paper as newstrade sales up 2.6 per cent on last year following iweekend relaunch

By Freddy Mayhew

Newstrade sales are up year-on-year at the i newspaper’s Saturday edition following its relaunch as iweekend in September last year.

The revamp did away with the “breathless pace” of predecessor the Saturday i and gave readers more feature articles and improved sections, said editor Oliver Duff at the time.

Circulation figures for July, published by ABC, show the paper’s Saturday newstrade circulation climbed 2.6 per cent on the same period last year to 212,425.

This includes paid single copies, bought at the newsstand for example, and subscription sales, but not bulk sales, which last month were 52,034 – bringing the iweekend’s total circulation for July to 264,459.

“There’s growth to be found in the national newspaper market,” said Duff.

“With iweekend, Saturday has gone from our weakest day to our strongest. We’ve approached it with a relentless focus on what our readers want – and a hunger to keep changing.”

He said the iweekend’s growth was down to the fact “it’s quick, clever, fun, useful and good value”, adding: “Our readers told us that they enjoy lively long reads as well as snappy news coverage. No problem – iweekend now lasts the whole weekend.

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“They want inspiring, useful features that relate to the world they recognise. So from our money coverage to our travel pages, iweekend is real. It’s not an ‘aspirational’ wishlist of luxury goods, holidays and food.

“There are no glossy magazines, so there’s no guilt or ‘buyer’s remorse’ about throwing them in the recycling bin unread – iweekend is meant to be the ultimate weekend briefing, from puzzles and telly to days out and travel breaks, sport and the news agenda.”

Duff said the i was set to make “major reinvestments” in digital and print journalism in the autumn, including expanding its investigations team, publishing new columnists and adding new hires to its newsroom.

“We’re building up Travel and Money coverage, which are both roaring along for us on,” he added. “We’re developing our Scotland print edition, where we’ve been encouraged by print growth in 2018 – there’s potential for much more.”

Johnston Press bought the i from Independent and Evening Standard publisher ESI Media in April 2016.

The i paper made £9.3m in its first full financial year under JP ownership.

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