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The Audit Bureau of Circulation’s numbers for September 2007 - reported by the Journal’s competitor Le Soleil - indicate the locked-out paper is selling 20,000 fewer papers every week. Over the last six months, sales have plunged by 505,636 copies compared to the same period last year.

The unions say these numbers show that Quebecor’s decision to lock out its employees has harmed the credibility it took the paper 40 years to build.

To keep its numbers up, the Journal de Québec has started giving copies away at stores, malls and flea markets. It has also been delivering directly to homes who’ve never requested the paper and has started a telemarketing campaign as aggressive as it is unpopular.

For its part, Quebecor management deny that their numbers are down. They insist readership has never been higher. Though they’re careful to talk about papers published, rather than papers ‘sold’.

For the full story, see: SCFP-Québec (french only)