The newsstand sales decline continues to lessen, as dollar sales fell 5.1% during the first quarter of 2016. This follows a decline of 7.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015. The total dollar sales decline over the last two calendar quarters was 6.3%, a sizable improvement from the double digit declines the industry experienced in 2014 and 2015. Based on the sample of retailer POS data that MagNet compiles and includes in our sales trending reports, 2nd quarter, 2016 sales at least initially, appear to be stronger than first quarter numbers. While unit and dollar newsstand magazine sales are still in decline, the fact that the drop is mitigating is a positive sign for every entity in the newsstand business.
As was the case in the fourth quarter, 2015, higher priced specials continue to lead the charge. Titles ranked in sales between 101 and 500 increased their aggregated sales in both units and dollars during the first quarter, with the average cover price per unit sold for this title grouping increasing by 8.7% compared to last year, same quarter. Even in these tough economic times, in general, there appears to be inelastic demand as many publishers raise their newsstand cover prices. Many of these higher priced titles sell well, as long as the consumer sees value in the publications being purchased. Being able to sell higher priced magazines improves the economics of all newsstand trading partners. We continue to see new titles being launched on the newsstand as well as many new bookazine title releases each quarter. The adult coloring book category continues to grow in both titles and sales, with many releases selling over 125,000 copies on the newsstand at high cover prices. No advertising or subscriptions, but the publishers in this segment of the business are prospering. Certainly plenty of positive news for the newsstand business in the first quarter of 2016.
You will note the differences in sales totals in both the chain and class of trade charts below compared to all of the other segments of data presented. The chain and class of trade totals are estimated to include the few retailers whose sales are not included in MagNet's database. All other information is derived from the data presented to us by the wholesalers in the US and Canada.