The general election helped newspapers achieve a stronger-than-expected year-end, according to the December ABC circulation figures. 

The quality press were the largest beneficiaries of the trend, and many experienced month-on-month gains. 

On weekdays, The Telegraph was up 1.7%, The Guardian up 1% and The Times up 0.5%.

The trend continued over the weekend with all three also up month-on-month on Saturday editions. The Observer and Telegraph reported the only positive Sunday sales, up 1.9% and 0.6%, respectively.

The Guardian’s editor in chief, Kath Viner, said: “During a month of UK elections and ongoing global upheaval, readers are turning to Guardian and Observer journalism and supporting us in ever-greater numbers.”

News UK’s retail director, Neil Spencer, agreed that turbulent political events had fuelled sales. He commented: “Following the general election, we have seen once again that people turn to newspapers around national events.”

The Mail’s figures fell by less than many of its rivals, resulting in the title’s lead as the bestselling paper in England, Wales and Northern Ireland extending to 67,000 copies. It now represents 26% of all titles sold at the newsstand Monday through to Saturday. 

The Telegraph’s positive results were overshadowed by its team’s decision to withdraw from the ABCs altogether, which it said was because print circulation was “not the key metric behind our subscription strategy, and is not how we measure success”.

In its ABC swansong, the publisher hailed that it “remains the highest-selling quality newspaper”, however, at the current rate of decline, The Times is due to overtake the Telegraph in terms of weekday sales by mid-2021. 

The Telegraph said it would self-publish its monthly results with an independent auditor.

ABC circulation figures December 2019
ABC circulation figures December 2019
ABC circulation figures December 2019

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