Journal Register Reports Weak 3Q

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By: Jennifer Saba

Net income for the Journal Register Co. slipped 36% in 3Q due to its struggling Michigan cluster.

The company reported today earnings of $0.19 per diluted share compared to $0.28 for the same quarter last year.

Total revenue declined 4% to $131.7 million. Total advertising revenue dropped 4.8% to $102.4 million. On a pro forma basis, ad revenue decreased 5.9%.

“Our 3Q financial results reflect the continued soft overall advertising environment, particularly in our Michigan cluster as a result of the slowdown in the domestic auto industry,” said Robert Jelenic, chairman and CEO of the company, in a statement. “Although our overall advertising revenues were down as compared to the 3Q of last year, our diligent cost controls throughout the company and the strong growth of our online business enabled us to offset a significant portion of the decline of print advertising revenues.”

The company said in September it was slashing 82 jobs in its Michigan cluster, which is expected to bring $3.2 million in annual savings.

On a pro forma basis, retail ad revenue dropped 5.1%.

Classified ad revenue was down 5.5%. Within the category, real estate slipped 2.1% due to declines in Michigan. Real estate ad growth was led by the company’s mid-Hudson cluster. Employment revenue slipped 9.9% though the New England cluster reported gains in the category of 22.5%. Michigan declined 25%. Automotive decreased 15.7%. Other revenue rose 7.5%.

National ad revenue plummeted 19.4% though the company said it represents less than 5% of total ad revenue.

Circulation revenue slipped 2.6% to $24.8 million.

Online revenue advanced 29.8% to $4.1 million due in part to JobsInTheUS.

On a conference call this morning, Jelenic told analysts and investors that he was more confident that the 4Q would show a pick-up in revenue due to easier comparisons and the success of the Detroit Tigers. “We’re a little more optimistic but it’s still too early” in the quarter he said.

Jelenic also said that circulation revenue trends are looking better in 4Q.

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