Trinity Mirror closes £10m daily deals website

The owner of the Daily Mirror said it is to shut down its daily deals website, Happli, which it unveiled little more than six months ago.

Trinity Mirror, which spent £10m on the website and hoped it could boost revenues by £20m over the next two years, said it was unlikely to be profitable in the near term.

The website, which was designed to attract and retain loyal, long-term customers for local and national retailers, was available in more than 50 UK locations and employed just over 30 staff.

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The move was announced by new chief executive Simon Fox alongside a management reshuffle, which will see its national and regional divisions fall under one structure.

The consolidated publishing operation will be managed by Mark Hollinshead, current managing director of nationals, in the newly created £375,000-a-year role of chief operating officer.

Mr Hollinshead will be entitled to 75 per cent of his salary – or £280,000 – as an annual bonus and remains eligible to participate in the group’s long-term incentive plan.

As a result of the new structure, managing director of regionals Georgina Harvey and director of corporate communications Nick Fullagar will be leaving the business.

Mr Fox, who joined Trinity from struggling entertainment group HMV, said he would provide a strategic update early next year.

“What has become clear in my first few weeks is that realising this potential requires a flatter and more efficient management structure that connects strategic decision-making more closely with the journalistic heart of the business,” he added.

Trinity recently said revenues fell 4 per cent in the 26 weeks to July 1 as its regional papers were hit by the economic malaise in northern cities and advertising slumped 10 per cent.

But the company added that underlying profits rose to £52.5m as it moved forward with a cost-cutting drive, which includes job cuts, changing regional titles to weekly publications and integrating its Scottish operations as Media Scotland.

Happli was backed in March by an advertising campaign with full-page adverts in the Mirror and regional titles.

Trinity said the market for online deals was worth £100m in 2011 and is set to grow to more than £1bn by 2016.