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Regional titles remain 'resilient'

Guardian Media Group has recorded pre-tax profits of £36.9m with its regional titles remaining resilient, according to its annual report.

The group, which publishes more than 40 regional titles, including the Manchester Evening News, Manchester Metro News, Stockport Express and Rochdale Observer, said the increased profits had enabled continued investment in its titles and left it in a strong position to take advantage of any opportunities to add to its portfolio as a result of the new Communications Act.

It reported mixed circulation success among its regional titles, with the Manchester Evening News being awarded best sales increase for an evening newspaper at the Newspaper Society’s Newspaper Sales and Promotion Awards in March 2003.

The MEN and the group’s titles in Reading and Surrey followed the industry trend of concentrating on full-price sales at the expense of bulk sales and promotional copies, and all three businesses showed actively-purchased sales gains withinfalls of the total circulation.

Its northern weeklies continued their trend of circulation growth.

The group added that its titles in Surrey and Berkshire were affected by a downturn in job advertising, but this was offset, to an extent, by an excellent year in property and motor advertising.

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