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Daily Mail profits down 7%

LONDON - Daily Mail & General Trust saw pre-tax profits fall by 7% to £178m for the year ended September 30 2001 and has warned it faces a difficult 2002.

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It has managed to record a total advertising revenue increase of 1.6% across its titles, which include the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard and the Mail on Sunday, after predicting in September that display ad revenues would be down by as much as 8%. However, DMGT has also warned that, since September 11, advertising has "fallen sharply", and is now down around 16% year on year for October and November.

While the Daily Mail saw ad revenues rise 2.8%, its sister Sunday title was hit by a decrease in financial ads, with revenues down 2.5%. The Evening Standard was also down, with recruitment advertising suffering the most, but its fall was less than 1%, DMGT said. However, it was also hit by a circulation loss of 2.5% over the year.

Metro, its London freesheet, has seen advertising revenue up by 26% for the year.

Losses came from DMGT's investment in new media, according to the company, but it claims that "new 'This is...' sites are not being rolled out and will lead to reduced costs both in the internet and traditional publishing areas".

DMGT's Northcliffe Newspapers, the regional newspaper division, saw operating profit up by 5% to £97m. It also saw recruitment ad sales fall, with advertising down 4% in November.

The company's share price was on the up when markets opened this morning. It leapt by 2.7% from a closing price of 637.5p yesterday to trade at 654.5p this morning.

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