Earnings: Lee Enterprises' Q1 Profit Plummets 69 Percent; Online Revs Slide 14 Percent

This story was written by David Kaplan.
Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) got a necessary reprieve last week when it received waivers on extending its latest debt payment, but it is surely not out of the woods by any stretch. And while no one was expecting that profits would even hold steady, preliminary Q1 figures show a staggering loss, as earnings from continuing op plunged 69 percent to $6.8 million ($0.15 per share) from $22.1 million ($0.48 per share) a year ago.

The revenue front wasn't much better, as even online ad sales fell nearly 14 percent. In fact, not one single revenue category was up over Q108, except for online retail ad revenue, which grew 19.1 percent year-over-year. However, that one bright spot is more than overshadowed by the rest of the revenues, as online looked as depressing as print. For example, online classified ads cratered 31.5 percent.

Revenues, in all, dropped 13 percent to $243.6 million.

Combined print and online advertising revenue fell 15.2 percent to $184.6 million; retail ads were down 9.8 percent, and classified nosedived 27.1 percent.

Combined print and web help wanteds fell 42.6 percent, while auto ads slid 23.2 percent and real estate tumbled 29.7 percent.

National ads dropped 5.4 percent.

By David Kaplan