Despite a 17.3 per cent drop in revenue from recruitment advertising and "a difficult trading environment", Johnston Press has announced record operating margins of 34.7 per cent. These were on profits of £177.7m and overall revenues of £520m for the 2005 calendar year.
Advertising revenue as a whole was down 3.7 per cent, which chief executive Tim Bowdler said was cyclical, "reflecting weaker consumer confidence, partly fuelled by a flatter property market and a cutback in recruitment".
He said the Daily Mail & General Trust’s attempt to sell Northcliffe had given Johnston renewed focus to consolidate. "Their willingness to consider its disposal suggests that further change may well occur in our sector, providing yet more opportunities for continued targeted growth by Johnston Press in the coming years. We are equally confident that consolidation is the greatest possible safeguard for a healthy regional press."