Johnston Press issues the following trading update ahead of the announcement of the Group's interim results for the 26 weeks to 30 June 2006, scheduled for 30 August 2006.
Since our announcement on 8 March 2006, when we advised that like-for-like advertising revenues were down year-on-year by 10.5%, there has been no discernible improvement in market conditions. Due to weaker comparatives since then, the decline in advertising revenues on a like-for-like basis, excluding acquisitions, in the 5 months to 3 June 2006 was 9.4%. On a like-for-like basis if the acquisitions were included in both periods the decline would have been 8.4%. Declines were experienced in employment, motors and display. All of these declines reflect the relatively difficult conditions being experienced in the relevant markets, higher unemployment and lower vacancies; lower car sales and dealer consolidation; weakness in consumer confidence and poor results from a number of high street retailers.
We are still experiencing growth in our property and other classified markets.
Circulation revenues are ahead of last year and we continue to see good growth in all measures of our digital publishing activities.
Contract printing revenues are down year-on-year on a like-for-like basis due to the closures of the Halifax, Portsmouth Heatset and Scarborough presses. However, there will be increased contract printing associated with the acquisitions made in 2005 and early 2006. The major press developments in Dinnington and Portsmouth are on schedule and budget and will bring opportunities for further printing efficiencies in the future.
The integration of our recent acquisitions is progressing well and, as previously stated, we expect them to be earnings enhancing in the year. These acquisitions combined with our ongoing control of costs and improved productivity will help offset the impact of increased newsprint prices and the difficult trading conditions.
Tim Bowdler, Chief Executive or
Stuart Paterson, Chief Financial Officer
Johnston Press plc
Tel: 0131 225 3361
Richard Oldworth/Suzanne Brocks
Tel: 020 7466 5000