Trinity Mirror sees further advertising decline

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Trinity Mirror, the newspaper publisher, on Thursday revealed a further deterioration in the advertising market in the first half of the year, as a slowdown in consumer spending continue to bite.

In a trading update ahead of its half-year results, the company said group advertising revenues were expected to fall 0.4 per cent in the six months to July 3, compared with a 2.3 per cent rise in the first four months of the year.

Trinity’s national division, which includes its flagship title the Daily Mirror, is expected to show a 5.3 per cent decline - with a 7 per cent fall at UK papers and a 0.2 per cent drop at its Scottish newspapers, which includes the Daily Record.

It was further evidence that advertising spending by businesses has been an early casualty of a slowdown in consumer spending revealed by a rash of cautious or gloomy statements from retailers and leisure groups.

Rattled business confidence also appeared to be effecting Trinity’s regional division, where advertising traditionally holds up better in difficult times.

Although regional advertising revenues are expected to be up by 1.4 per cent in the six-month period, this compares with a 4 per cent rise for the first four months of the year - a marked slowdown.

In April Trinity was the first UK newspaper group to alert the market to a drop-off in advertising, but rivals such as Daily Mail and General Trust and Johnston Press have since added to the gloom.

DMGT, publisher of the Daily Mail, on Wednesday moved to improve margins at its regional newspaper division by announcing a two-year restructuring programme aimed at cutting costs by £20m.

Trinity has already taken an axe to costs at its regional division, but continues to face problems at the Mirror Group such as declining circulation volumes and the rising cost of newsprint.

Trinity said circulation revenues were expected to rise 3.1 per cent year-on-year in the first half, boosted by cover price rises across all its businesses. Nationals were up 1.9 per cent, regionals 5.2 per cent and sports newspapers 9.6 per cent.

“Whilst we anticipate the advertising market will remain extremely challenging the board expects a satisfactory outcome for the year,” the company said.

The shares opened almost 1 per cent lower at 626p.

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