Sun casts a shadow over Trinity

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Trinity Mirror said it had been hit by the launch of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun on Sunday in February, dragging circulation revenue at its national titles lower in March and April and compounding a prolonged slump in advertising.

The publisher of the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People and a host of regional titles, said revenue for the 17 weeks to April 29 fell 4 per cent as ad spending in its titles dropped 11 per cent.

It said early indications pointed to revenue in May falling 5 per cent as spending on advertising shrunk by 10 per cent and circulation revenue dropped 4 per cent.

Chief executive Sly Bailey, who received almost £1.8m in cash and shares last year, said last week she would step down at the end of the year, by which time she would have been in the top job for almost a decade.

Trinity Mirror, like its rivals, has been battling falling circulations and ad revenue. It has been turning to the internet, but growth has not been fast enough to offset the falling revenue from its newspapers.

Its Sunday titles benefited from the closure of rival Sunday title News of the World last summer, but that gain evaporated when Murdoch launched a Sunday edition of his Sun tabloid at the end of February.

Circulation revenues at its national titles were up 10 per cent in January and February, but fell 3 per cent in March and April following the launch of the competing title. The company said the trading environment was expected to remain challenging for the remainder of the year.