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Guardian best quality performer as Indy keeps gaining

LONDON - The Guardian is one of the best performers in the ABC figures for April as The Independent, which goes fully tabloid on Monday, continues to gain ground, in an otherwise disappointing month for the national press.

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The Guardian, possibly mulling a Berliner-style mid-size format change now being speculated for next year, is up 1.36% to 381,421 in April, making it this month's best performer out of the quality dailies. However, it is suffering a 6.48% year-on-year fall.

Its nearest editorial competitor, The Independent, continues to narrow the circulation gap, climbing 0.87% in April to 260,259, proving its decision to go compact has been the right one. Year on year, it is up an impressive 12.6%.

The story is a slightly different one for The Times. It is slightly down this month by 0.59% to 654,762 as it continues to struggle as a dual-format title. It is down just under 3% year on year.

The Daily Telegraph remains almost static, up 0.4% to 923,449 on last month. It is down 2.48% year on year.

The Financial Times has had a disappointing month, down 1.14% to 443,685. It is down 4.52% year on year.

The Indy's success has carried across to its Sunday sister title, the Independent on Sunday. Last month, it started publishing its business section in a tabloid format, which has had a positive effect. It is up 1.45% to 212,280. The only other Sunday quality to be up for April was The Sunday Telegraph, up 1.39% to 707,443.

The Guardian's stablemate, The Observer, was down 0.47% to 450,119, while the Sunday Times was also slightly down, falling 0.3% to 1,391,729. However, it is still the biggest-selling Sunday quality.

The Business saw a huge circulation slide last month, down 37.14%, hit by the end of its distribution deal with The Mail on Sunday in the middle of the month.

Among the tabloids and mid-markets, Trinity Mirror's Daily Record was the best performer, up 1.52% to 498,846. Its sister title the Daily Mirror, currently embroiled in controversy over claims of "fake" pictures allegedly depicting British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, was down 0.91% to 1,888,145.

The Daily Star slipped 0.19% to 902,026. However, it is the only tabloid to be up year on year by 7.46%. Its Sunday title was up 5.61% to 521,995, a rise of 9.22% year on year. The only other Sunday tabloid to be up last month was The People, rising 1.78% to 1,033,692.

The UK's best-selling tabloid, The Sun, was marginally down this month, falling 0.38% to 3,345,828.

Richard Desmond's title, The Express, which has just reconfirmed plans for the launch of a freesheet to rival The Evening Standard, was down this month by 0.14% to 940,849. Its rival The Daily Mail was up by 0.39% to 2,407,392 and sister Associated title The Evening Standard was down 1.28% to 388,852.

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