The Guardian moves Weekend magazine printing to Walstead Bicester

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 12 February 2019

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The Guardian has moved the production of its Weekend magazine to Walstead Bicester.

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Weekend is now being printed web offset. Image: Twitter

The magazine, which is published alongside the newspaper’s Saturday edition, had been gravure printed on the continent at Roto Smeets since 2016, following the collapse of Polestar, and then shipped to the UK.

It is now being printed web offset at Walstead Bicester, on a three-year contract effective from the 2 February issue.

Walstead group sales director Jon Hearnden told PrintWeek: “Any weekly product with significant volume is a key win for us so we’re delighted both for it to have come back to the UK and for us to be producing it for The Guardian.

“To engage with The Guardian on a project of this size and scale is a real achievement and it’s very satisfying for us to kick off our relationship with them in this manner.”

The magazine will be printed on the Bicester plant’s suite of 64pp and 72pp Lithoman web presses and bound using its Ferag stitching lines.

“From a customer’s perspective gravure is a great technology, but web offset gives them some flexibility in pagination ranges and where we can produce some added value opportunities with smaller sections, inserts and such like,” Hearnden added.

Guardian News & Media (GNM) confirmed to PrintWeek that The Observer Magazine, published alongside The Observer every Sunday, would continue to be printed by YM Group.

“As part of our ongoing strategy to make our business as effective as possible the Weekend magazine has joined Guardian Weekly for printing at Walstead Bicester,” said a GNM spokesperson.

The Observer Magazine has been printed with the YM Group since January 2018.”

Last month The Guardian switched from polywrap to compostable wrap for the supplements bag that goes out with the Saturday edition, which has an average circulation of just over 257,000.

It is using compostable wrap made from potato starch by Alfaplas in Hereford, with wrapping of the supplements pack taking place at RMS in Rainham and at YM Chantry in Wakefield, which also prints the ReviewThe Guide and Feast supplements.

Walstead instigated plans last week to reduce headcount at the Bicester site on the back of reduced volumes, while earlier this week it revealed that it plans to close Grange Press. The former Wyndeham businesses were rebranded as Walstead last month.

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