Yell looks to the online market

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Yellow Pages owner Yell highlighted the importance of its turnaround strategy yesterday after revealing a further 15 per cent slump in revenues.

Sales of print and other directory advertising slumped 22 per cent to £269.8m in the quarter to December 31, with revenues from digital directories down 16 per cent to £77.6m.

However, Yell was encouraged by the doubling in revenues from digital services to £35.4m as it bids to reinvent itself through schemes such as helping businesses operate their own virtual stores. The trial project features a directory of products that can be viewed on smartphones.

This did not offset the decline in its print and online directories businesses, which accelerated in the period as a result of the worsening economy and tougher competition online. Total revenues fell 15.1 per cent to £382.8m.

The group is also trialling community newsletters to help fill the gap in its print business and take advantage of the decline in local newspapers. The trial is currently in the US but the scheme could be brought to the UK.

The group said online now accounts for 29.5 per cent of its revenues, up from 25.5 per cent a year ago, while digital customers grew 10 per cent to 945,000.

Chief executive Mike Pocock said: “Our digital services revenue continued to grow strongly. We expect this growth to accelerate as our strategic new products come to market.”

Its new strategy to grow online includes developing an ‘emarketplace’ designed to allow consumers to find Yell’s customers more easily.