Monday, October 22, 2007

Metro hammered in Philly, Boston

Metro International's free dailies in Boston and Philadelphia reported lower sales in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. But the company's New York edition's sales shot up 18 percent for the quarter.

Boston's 12 percent decline is being attributed to a change in sales directors. In Philadelphia, a 5 percent decline was blamed on increased competition — the once moribund Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News has roared back to life with new ownership led by a successful local advertising executive, Brian Tierney.

While sales were off in Boston due to personnel changes, Metro has stablized its sales force in New York. (Word on the street is that Metro's free daily rival, amNewYork, had a strong quarter, too.)

The details about sales in the U.S. emerged today as Metro announced its third quarter results. The company warned analysts on Oct. 13 that the results would show an $18 million loss, double the amount in the same quarter last year. The numbers today are pretty much in line with the guidance Metro provided earlier.

But back on Oct. 13, Metro said its board was going to devise a plan to stem its losses by deciding where it would continue to invest. The implication was that the board would also decide where it would stop investing — which would probably mean the sale or closure of some of its 70 editions worldwide. The board is apparently still considering its options; no announcements about closures or sales were made today.