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The owner of the Daily Mail says a resilient performance at its national newspapers helped offset a challenging year for its regional titles.

Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) said the nationals arm benefited from a record year for the Metro free newspaper while the Mail on Sunday became the biggest selling Sunday newspaper following the demise of the News of the World.

Revenues at the division were 2% lower at £862 million in the year to October 2, which DMGT said represented a resilient performance. The division's operating profits fell 15% to £76 million after it absorbed rising printing costs and it was impacted by greater promotional activity as newspapers competed to win News of the World readers.

A strong performance from its business-to-business division, which includes publications such as Euromoney Institutional Investor and marketing arm DMG Events, also helped offset "challenging" conditions at its regional newspapers.

Group underlying profits rose 3% to £237 million on revenues up 1% to £2 billion. Bottom-line profits declined 14% to £125 million.

Its Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers both saw their circulation revenues fall although they grew their market share. Free newspaper Metro had its strongest year yet, with record profits and revenues up 14%.


Mail Online saw revenues increase 65%, cementing its position as the UK's most popular newspaper website. It also launched in the United States, where it attracted 1.1 million visitors in September, helping make it the second largest English language newspaper website in the world.

Its regional newspaper arm, which operates 120 titles, suffered a 37% fall in operating profits to £17 million after it was affected by weaker advertising markets and falling readership, which contributed to a 7% fall in like-for-like revenues.

The division is set to benefit from a restructuring process that saw its headcount fall by 19%, or 602 people, as it sold seven titles and closed seven free publications.

Its regional weekly titles saw their circulation decline 4.7% in the year, which it said was less than the 6.3% average across the big four newspaper publishers.


PA, photo by danpea