Retailers are struggling to convert News of the World readers to other titles following the closure of the iconic red top.

Attempts by publishers to capture the lost NotW market by reducing cover prices ultimately failed on Sunday, especially among home news delivery (HND) customers. Dave Newman, of Westhill Stores, Hastings, East Sussex, feared the NotW closure had “accelerated the demise of HND”. 

He said: “I invited my NotW readers to change to another title, but only 50% have taken up my offer. I think many HND customers did it out of habit, and now they realise they just don’t need to order another paper.” 

Dave also argued that many customers bought NotW alongside a broadsheet, but no other Sunday tabloid had the same appeal. “It had such a broad market, we were all hooked,” he added. “We’ve lost sales we won’t recover, unless an alternative is introduced.”
Only sales of the Mail on Sunday grew significantly at his store, from an average of 42 to 58. 

Jon Ellis, of Town Common News, Christchurch, Dorset, is also trying to convince his HND customers to order another title. He said the Sunday Mirror had picked up the most, but otherwise the Mail on Sunday and Sunday Express “shouldn’t have bothered reducing their prices”. However, his overall newspaper sales remained level on Sunday and on week days, when The Mirror is selling out at the expense of The Sun.

Raj Patel, of Weybridge News, Weybridge, Surrey, said newspaper sales in general had been down for the previous couple of weeks as people boycotted all News International titles, but the first Sunday without the News Of The World was particularly bad. 

“I was expecting people to buy other titles and had sent letters to my regular customers telling them about the alternatives, but they simply weren’t interested,” he added. “I’ve had to send six bundles back today. I’m quite worried.”