May 7, 2020 / 6:59 AM / a month ago

Daily Mirror owner predicts 'significant' hit this year from shutdowns

(Reuters) - Daily Mirror-owner Reach Plc (RCH.L) on Thursday forecast a big hit to annual revenue as newspaper circulation as well as ad and digital sales were hammered in April by Britain’s move to impose a strict lockdown.

The company, which also owns the Daily Star, the Daily Express and several other brands, said it had seen an estimated 30% slump in April sales from a year earlier.

“While in some areas we have recently seen a stabilisation in trends, circulation remains significantly below pre-COVID-19 levels and advertising remains very challenging and uncertain, with regional advertising particularly impacted,” Reach said.

The company said last month it would furlough 20% of its staff, cut wages by 10% and management pay by 20% as it tries to keep its regional and national titles operating during the pandemic.

It had also warned that the uncertainty around the severity and duration of the crisis casts a shadow on the impact of print circulation, advertising and events.

The company said it had net cash of 33.2 million pounds ($41.05 million) after cutting costs and drawing down 25 million pounds.

In the four months to April 26, revenue fell 13.1%, despite a 4.7% growth in digital sales for the period. (reut.rs/3dpWhpG)

However, digital revenue for April, which represents a full month of impact from the nationwide lockdown, dropped nearly 23%.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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