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Reach shares jump on online sales surge

Reach shares soared on Friday morning as the publisher saw digital revenue in Q4 grow by 25%.

The owner of Express, the Daily Star and other brands posted a strong digital performance and expects underlying operating profit for 2020 to between £130m to £135m. This is ahead of analyst consensus expectations which were £122m.

The chief executive, Jim Mullen, said: “It is a testament to our people that Reach has not only dealt with the unique challenges 2020 has presented, but we have accelerated our strategy and we are ahead of where we expected to be.  

“The new COVID-19 restrictions bring macro-economic uncertainty, but the changes made in the business during 2020 to develop a new, more efficient operating model put us in a strong competitive position.”

In July, Reach said it planned to axe 550 jobs, which is over 10% of its workforce. Print sales fell 12% in the fourth quarter. and overall quarterly revenues were down 10% on a year ago.

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December saw the group reach five million online customers registered for Reach ID. This is the customer insight platform that provides a combined view of the user’s activity across all of the group’s sites.

This month Reach will launch new sites that will cover Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It is also expanding the MyLondon editorial team.  

Last year, Reach suspended its interim dividend “due to Covid-19 uncertainty”. 

Reach shares are trading 18.46% at 208.01 (1133GMT) and hit a 10-year high.

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