Pre Close Trading Update December 2003

52 week period ending 28 December 2003

Trinity Mirror plc is today issuing a trading update in respect of the second half of the 52 week financial period ending 28th December 2003. This statement is being issued ahead of the Company's preliminary results on 26th February 2004.

Overall the Group continues to trade in line with the Board's expectations for the year with improved advertising revenues for our Regionals division offsetting a weaker advertising performance from our Nationals division in the second half.

Advertising revenues
Whilst advertising conditions for our Regional newspaper titles have shown signs of stabilisation during the past five months, conditions for our National titles continue to be difficult and volatile. Group advertising revenues for the 5 months to November 2003 increased by 1.0% year on year.

The Regionals division (incorporating Digital Media and Metros) achieved advertising revenue growth of 3.9% year on year for the period. Excluding Digital Media and Metros, advertising revenues for the Regional newspaper titles increased by 3.0% year on year. This was despite advertising revenue falling by 0.7 % year on year in the same period for our Regional newspaper titles in London and the South East. Our Regional Newspaper titles excluding Metro's and our titles in London and South East increased advertising revenues by 4.3%.

For our Regional newspaper titles all categories achieved year on year growth with the exception of Motors which declined by 2.2% for the period. Recruitment revenues increased by 1.4% year on year for the period representing an increase of 5.5% for our regional newspaper titles outside London and the South East which was offset by an 11.3% fall in London and the South East. Whilst the South continues to experience year on year declines in recruitment advertising, an improving trend has emerged in the last three months with year on year declines of 15.6% for September, 8.7% for October and 6.7% for November.

Advertising revenues for the Group's Nationals division fell by 5.7% year on year for the period, with declines of 5.7% and 5.5% for our UK national titles and Scottish national titles respectively.

Group circulation revenues for the period July to November 2003 increased by 4.7% year on year for the 5 months to November 2003.

Circulation revenues for the Regional newspaper titles increased by 2.1% year on year for the period, with cover price increases offsetting volume declines.

Circulation revenues for the Nationals division increased by 5.2% year on year for the period. This reflects the benefits of restoring the cover price of the Daily Mirror to 32p outside Scotland partially offset by reduced circulation volumes. Circulation revenues for the UK national titles increased by 6.6% and for the Scottish national titles by 0.1% during the period.

Our strategy "Stabilise Revitalise Grow" is on course and the Board is confident that, despite the adverse effects of continued volatility in the advertising market for our National titles, performance for the year will be at least in line with expectations.

  • all advertising and circulation results of the regional newspaper titles are shown on a like for like basis excluding the results of Post Publications Limited and Ethnic Media Group Limited which were disposed of in June 2002, Channel One which was closed down in November 2002 and Wheatley Dyson which was sold in February 2003.