Mirror publisher Reach ‘on path to sustainable growth’ after sales recovery

·2 min read

The publisher of the Mirror and Express newspapers said it has a “clear pathway to sustainable growth” after posting a rebound in sales following a heavy impact from the pandemic.

Reach saw shares leap on Tuesday morning after it revealed that revenues increased by 4% to £302.3 million for the half-year to June 27.

The London-listed business restored its dividend payments to shareholders as a result.

It said the sales recovery was driven by a “strong digital performance” as online revenues jumped by 42.7% over the period.

The firm said the increase in registrations and digital revenue has allowed it to invest in journalism, data and technology to drive its future growth strategy.

Jim Mullen, chief executive officer of the group, said: “Reach is transforming its prospects and with strong momentum in the customer value strategy we now have a clear pathway to sustainable growth.”

The publisher, which owns a raft of regional titles including the Manchester Evening News, said its operating profit for the past six months increased by 25.5% to £68.9 million.

It added that print circulations were down 5.1% for the half-year, although this reflected a recovery after reporting an 11.3% decline in the first quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, print advertising dropped by 4.3% over the six-month period as it was also buoyed by a stronger second quarter as the economy reopened, with advertising revenues rebounding by more than a fifth.

Mr Mullen said: “Award-winning national and local journalism is delivering consistently higher audience engagement, supported by increased customer insight.

“As a result, we have been able to increase investment in journalism and the applied data technology that is key to us achieving our ambition of doubling digital growth over the medium term.

“The business remains strongly cash generative and is committed to delivering growth for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Shares in the company were 7.5% higher at 336.5p after early trading.

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