Highbury House admits performance anxiety

Magazine giant Highbury House Communications has said monthly titles have been hit by a downturn in sales and advertising revenue during the last three months in what they admit has been a "difficult" year.

In a downbeat assessment of the year, Highbury said 2004 had been “difficult” and the company had underperformed.

However, the company said it will now focus on its UK news-stand consumer operations and has not ruled out further closures of magazines.

The volatile trading conditions the company had experienced in the fourth quarter of 2004 had also led the company to re-examine its marketing strategy in order for a “more consistent” promotion plan top be put in place.

A restructuring of the company’s sales operations is also expected to be implemented in 2005 after advertising revenues were lower than originally forecast.

A statement from the company said: “With many of the building blocks and a clear plan in place for the future, the priorities for 2005 are to consolidate and stabilise operations, invest in a more focused and competitive portfolio of products and to improve margins to the level of the Group's peers.

“The Board believes that many of the benefits of this strategy will become visible in 2005 with more significant progress in trading coming through thereafter.”

By Kevin May

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