Johnston sees ad sales tumble 11pc

Regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press said yesterday that it would make further cost cuts to enable it to hit full-year targets after advertising sales fell 11 per cent due to government spending cuts.

The group, whose titles include The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, said total advertising for the 18 weeks to May 7 were down 10.6 per cent, with employment the weakest performing category down 30.7 per cent due to public sector cutbacks.

The group also noted that newsprint prices in 2011 were significantly higher than last year, and said this and other inflationary pressures would have to be managed though strong cost control and incremental annual savings of around £5m.

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Despite the tough first quarter advertising performance, it expects the full-year results to be in line with current market expectations, and noted that the rate of decline had eased in the second quarter compared with the first.

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