SACRAMENTO: US Publisher the McClatchy Company recorded a loss of $849,000 in the first quarter of 2008, compared with profits of $9 million (€5.7m; £4.6m) for the same period last year – with declining ad sales being blamed for the slump.

McClatchy – which owns 30 daily newspapers across the country – saw print ad revenues fall by 15.3% year on year to $404m in Q1, and predicts that the difficult ad climate is likely to continue into the next quarter. 

California and Florida – two of its main markets – accounted for some 56% of the decline, a situation attributed to the faltering condition of the real estate sector in these states.

Circulation revenues also dipped by 5.6%, to $67.9m, with overall revenue down by 13.8% to $488.3m, although online advertising did improve by 10.6% on last year's levels.

The company has also announced a buy-back scheme for $250m of the debt that resulted from its acquisition of fellow newspaper group Knight Ridder in 2006.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff