Reach (RCH.L), the owner of the Daily Mirror newspaper, received a boost on Friday after it revealed its performance had exceeded expectations, with the second-half of the year stronger than the first.
The group, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, saw digital revenue growth of 16.2% for the five months to 22 November, with circulation sales for its range of national and local titles “resilient” despite lockdown restrictions.
The publisher cited increased customer engagement and cross-promotions as main reasons for growth.
Customer registrations exceeded 4.25 million, and the company said it was on track to deliver the 10 million registrations it is targeting by the end of 2022.
The news sent shares as much as 5% higher in early trade.
However, the company, which also owns OK! magazine and the Daily Express and Daily Star titles, did reveal a 19.6% fall in print revenue, contributing to a group revenue decline of 13.9%.
It has additionally launched a consultation of closing two of its printing sites in a bid to reduce costs.
Chief executive Jim Mullen said: “The headwinds from COVID-19 have been considerable, but while we remain mindful of potential impacts from the current lockdowns, we approach the end of the year with a strong and growing digital business, resilient print circulation sales, and a new, efficient operating model.”
Earlier this month Reach completed the acquisition of the remaining 50% stake in Independent Star. The addition of the Irish Star assets to the Reach portfolio brings the number of newspapers it publishes in Ireland to eight.
In July Reach axed 550 jobs, including approximately 325 working in editorial and circulation, as part of a restructure to deliver £35m ($47m) worth of savings. The cut represented around 12% of its workforce at the time.
It also furloughed almost 1,000 staff members in April in an attempt to curb the ongoing impact of the pandemic on its businesses. It slashed the wages of remaining staff by up to 20%.
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