Northcliffe increased its UK operating profits by £8.9 million to £12.3 million in the six months to 4 April but revenues were down 7% to £132 million, according to half -year results announced by the Daily Mail and General Trust today. Northcliffe's advertising revenues were down by 9% to £93 million. Property ad revenues were up 1%, but all other major categories fell with retail down 4%, recruitment down 24%, notices down 8% and motors down by 6%. All other categories combined contracted by 9%. UK digital revenues for the period were £9 million, up 13%, despite recruitment revenues being down 14%. UK circulation revenues fell by 7% to £33 million. In the July to December 2009 ABC period, circulation of both daily and weekly titles, down 8% and 6% respectively,but the number of visitors across the entire digital network rose by 16% in March 2010, compared to March 2009. Operating costs were 15% lower than in the previous period, with lower newsprint and other production costs, staff and distribution costs in particular. Headcount was reduced by a further 143 (4%) in the period. Trading during April and the first three weeks of May has seen advertising revenues 4% below last year. Property (up 9%) and recruitment (up 2%: first growth for over two years) have performed well, retail continues to show single digit declines, whereas notices are finding market conditions challenging.
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