Metro abandons 12 Swedish cities

Swedish free newspaper group Metro International has announced that it is to end distribution of its publication in 12 cities in the north and south-east of Sweden.

Metro abandons 12 Swedish cities

The firm announced a renewed focus on Sweden’s major cities.

“We are doing this because our advertisers demand it,” said Andreas Ohlson, CEO of Metro Nordic Sweden.

Metro is primarily a big city newspaper. 12 cities in the northern province of Norrland, as well as Blekinge and Småland in the south, will therefore no longer be part of circulation.

The firm plans to instead print more editions for distribution in the bigger cities. Ohlsson claims that for example in Stockholm, Metro’s newspapers are typically gone by lunchtime.

“When the competition disappeared the demand for Metro increased,” he said.

In Stockholm, which was previously characterized by tough competition within the free newspaper sector, Punkt SE has already closed and Stockholm City has cut its circulation.

Metro has reported problems with profitability and has recently been obliged to ask its shareholders for investment – in excess of 500 million kronor ($63 million). Losses during the first quarter amounted to 166 million kronor.

But in Sweden things are going well, according to Andreas Ohlson.

“We are on course for a profit in Sweden for the full year,” he said.

The changes also mean that Metro is cutting the number of printing presses in Sweden from seven to four.

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Social Democrats call for Malmö underground system

Malmö’s Social Democrats have backed plans to build an underground railway in the city which could then be connected to Copenhagen through a tunnel under the Öresund straits.

Social Democrats call for Malmö underground system
The Copenhagen Metro in Örestad, near to the Öresund Straits. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT / Kod
Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh wants the city to begin drawing up plans for an underground railway with at least five stops: Malmö Central, Södervärn, Värnhem, Västra Hamnen and Nyhamnen. 
“We need to plan for a traffic system where we take into account being a city of half a million people,” she told the local Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
“And the traffic system needs to be able to handle more than just those who live in Malmö because we represent 50 percent of the growth in new jobs in Skåne and in addition are experiencing growing tourism.” 
Stjernfeldt Jammeh said that if her party manages to hold onto power after Sunday’s election, she aimed to push forward with the plans even before an investment decision over the Öresund Metro link. 
“There is a good reason in going underground, because we need to be economical with space on the surface,” she said. 
Sweden’s Liberal Party was the first to suggest building an underground in Malmö, with the Social Democrats instead pushing for a tram network until the plan was voted down by the centre-Right Alliance in Skåne’s regional government.