British newspaper publisher Reach said it had seen a strong recovery in digital advertising in the third quarter, resulting in a year-on-year revenue decline for the quarter of 15% compared to a 27.5% drop in the second. 

The company publishes the Daily Mirror and Daily Express tabloids and a host of regional titles.

It said it was performing materially ahead of market expectations, although it remained mindful of the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.

Reach also publishes the Irish Mirror, Dublin Live, RSVP Magazine and Cork Beo here.

"We have seen a strong recovery in the digital advertising market since the worst impacts of Covid-19 in April which has driven a return to healthy digital revenue growth since July, assisted by increased customer engagement and loyalty," its chief executive Jim Mullen said. 

He said circulation sales had also stabilised and had shown a gradual recovery during the second and third quarters as coronavirus lockdown measures were eased. 

The company said in July it would cut about 550 jobs, or 12% of its workforce, after the pandemic hit circulation and advertising revenue.

Shares in the group jumped 20% in early deals as analysts at Numis said both adjusted operating and pretax profit for the first half soundly beat their expectations. 

The company reported statutory operating profit of £28.9m for the first half of the year compared to £63.7m for the same time a year ago. 

On an adjusted basis, operating profit was £53.5m compared to £71.3m a year earlier, on revenue of £290.8m, down from £352.6m.