The logistics group said on Friday that at its Smiths News business, newspaper sales had held up well but magazine sales had weakened further in the final quarter. The football World Cup delivered lower sales of stickers and albums than in previous tournaments but was consistent with revised expectations, it added.
News UK’s titles include The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times.
The logistics group, formerly known as Smiths News, said conditions in the parcel freight market remained challenging with actions to improve service and efficiency having limited time to influence financial performance in the period. As a consequence, it said Tuffnells' second-half performance was expected to be worse than in the first half.
Connect said that its plan to close its Pass My Parcel unit, announced in June 2018, had proceeded at pace and that agreement has now been reached with key clients to wind down operations and exit onerous contracts. Deliveries and collections representing over 95% of volumes ceased during August 2018 and distribution services for the remaining clients will end by January 2019, it added.
The swifter than anticipated exit from onerous contracts has led to additional operating losses in the period but is expected to have a positive impact on the level of provision required for closure costs in 2019.
The company said it had also made provisions relating to a historic underpayment to HMRC over the misapplication of national minimum wage legislation at Tuffnells and for further organisational restructuring.