A standalone sports section will still appear in the Monday and Saturday editions of the Guardian

The Guardian's weekday standalone sports section is to go the way of a number of its weekly supplements, being reduced in size and folded into the main newspaper.

From Tuesdays to Fridays, the section will now appear in its traditional place on the back page. On Mondays and Saturdays the separate section will remain.

Sports, which is currently 10 pages, is the latest standalone section to be slimmed down and folded into the main newspaper. In September, the Guardian's media and society sections made the same move following a trial in August.

Another section change will see Friday's Film & Music supplement incorporated into the main book features section, and pagination changes include the obituaries section being cut from two to one and comment from five to four.

According to a report in the Guardian, the changes to the print edition – intended to be "incremental" – follow several months of work on mock-ups and reader research. A more radical plan to overhaul the newspaper, which would have seen daily news reduced in favour of more long-form and investigative content, was considered but shelved.

Guardian News & Media, publisher of the Guardian, aims to save around £1m a year through the changes, along reductions to casual sub-editing staff. The move follows other cost saving measures, including the scrapping of international editions and raising of cover prices.

A spokesperson for the company said: "As part of our 'digital first' strategy, we have been looking in detail at how we produce our newspapers and website, and over the next few days we will be telling staff about our plans for a new, simplified production process.

"This will be introduced in January, along with some changes to the printed Monday to Friday Guardian. The changes to the paper take account of changing patterns of readership and advertising and are based on research with our readers."

GNM announced in June that it was to implement a "digital-first" strategy at the Guardian and Observer, under which it will seek to double digital revenues to nearly £100 million by 2016 and save £25 million over the same period.

The strategy is part of an attempt to stem losses, which reached £33m for the 2010/2011 financial year.

GNM editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger confirmed at the time that the strategy would involve "significant" job cuts.

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