Daily Mail warns of weak advertising

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Daily Mail & General Trust, the newspaper group, does not expect advertising to rise above the levels seen before the Iraq war for the rest of this financial year.

Reporting interim results, the company, which publishes the Daily Mail and London's Evening Standard, said national advertising was "weak" in February and March. It meant that ad revenues for the six months to 30 March grew by just 0.4 per cent. Within that, display advertising was down 1 per cent and the Evening Standard saw recruitment ads fall a further 8 per cent. DMGT said April had seen a continuation of the poor advertising trend. Peter Williams, finance director, said that advertising sales should get back up to pre-war levels "but I don't see why it should go up from there".

"What's there in the economy to make financial advertisers start advertising again?" he said, noting that the Mail on Sunday in particular was dependent on promotions from financial companies.

DMGT reported that underlying profit grew 19 per cent in the first half to £77.4m, while turnover was up 7 per cent at £103.8m.