Daily Mail warns that advertising market is still difficult

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The Independent Online

Daily Mail & General Trust has seen a "patchy" recovery in advertising sales at its national newspapers but the company warned that the market remained difficult.

After a 9 per cent plunge in first-half advertising sales at the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and the Evening Standard, the figure for the 11 months to the end of August was a 6 per cent decline. That implied a fall of some 3 per cent for the April-August five months.

Peter Williams, finance director at DMGT, said the national papers should be in positive territory this month. Retail advertising in particular has come back but classified ads for jobs on the nationals was "undoubtedly" migrating to the web instead. "In the last few weeks we have been feeling a bit more confident. September is proving to be better. And, for instance, recruitment ads in our regionals is [now] in single-digit decline," he said.

At the Northcliffe division of regional papers, 11-month ad sales were down 8 per cent, with recruitment down 17 per cent.

Two weeks ago, the company launched London Lite, a free afternoon newspaper that went head-to-head with Rupert Murdoch's new free title, thelondonpaper. Mr Williams said the impact of the two free papers on the paid-for Evening Standard title had been "a lot less than we expected". He also said that, so far, those free papers had not taken advertising away from its Metro paper.

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