Trinity Mirror, the UK’s largest newspaper group, aims to combat a £11.3 million ($16.04m; €18.5m) loss for 2001 with an aggressive relaunch of its flagship national titles The Mirror and Sunday Mirror.

The loss, which incorporates a £150m asset writedown, was accompanied by a 2.7% slide in circulation at The Mirror. But chief executive Philip Graf refuted rumours that he plans to take The Mirror upmarket to confront Associated Newspaper’s Daily Mail.

Says Graf: “It’s not about taking it upmarket. The way it sits at the moment is fine.” Instead, the relaunch will target younger readers and focus on converting occasional readers into regulars. “Encouraging existing readers to read more often, rather than chasing after loyal readers of competitive titles,” is a more successful strategy, Graf asserts.

The national titles were the worst-affected by the decline in ad revenues, which fell 4.2% to £201m. Advertising from regional titles rose 4% to £409m. Trinity plans to invest a further £25m this year, of which some 40% is likely to go to the national titles.

Excluding exceptional items, however, pre-tax profits hit £155.5m (restated £154.1m) on turnover of £1.13bn (£1.08bn). Losses per share were £0.182 (earnings of £0.88).

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff