London Evening Standard reports £1.4m trading profit

The London Evening Standard, the capital's free evening news brand, has posted its third consecutive year of profit, to £1.4 million, greeted by its chief executive as "something to be celebrated".

London Evening Standard: posts a trading profit of £1.4 million
London Evening Standard: posts a trading profit of £1.4 million

Figures for the year ending in September 2014, released today, reveal a trading profit of £1.4 million on a turnover of £62.9 million, an increase in turnover of 8.7 per cent despite the challenging nature of the print advertising market. 

In a statement, the publisher owned by Evgeny Lebedev, called 2013/14 a "significant year of investment in the future of the newspaper with circulation increasing from a daily average of 700,000 to 900,000 in the first quarter of 2014". 

The increased distribution has resulted in strong readership growth, with the National Readership Survey tracking more than 1.9 million people reading the London Evening Standard every weekday evening. 

The financial situation for London's free evening newspaper was boosted by luxury advertisers drawn to its ES Magazine and the paper's Homes & Property posting a 30 per cent rise in revenues.

The profitable year comes despite the publisher investing in digital platforms and the expansion of ES Magazine.

The publisher is on track to improve on its performance in 2015 too, with chief executive Steve Auckland telling Campaign in May he had aspirations to achieve up to £4 million in profit in the financial year ending September 2015.

This would help offset falls in the group's Independent operation, although talking to Campaign today the CEO today tempered such ambitions but insisted the Standard remained "on track to double profits" in its next financial year. 

Auckland said: "The Evening Standard is an incredible brand and proof that print is very much alive. The team continues to deliver an outstanding product resulting in record numbers of Londoners picking up the paper every weekday evening. 

"Three consecutive profitable years is something to be celebrated and testament to the success of the strategy to turn the paper free and revitalise the business. 

"Recently we’ve made huge steps forward with our digital offering, with audience growth of over 77 per cent year on year.

"The latest investment in our website will help us further develop our brand, audiences and revenues.

"I’d like to thank the entire team for their hard work and the Lebedevs for their investment and vision."

The Standard was voted Daily Newspaper of the Year by the London Press Club in 2014.

Sarah Sands, the editor, said: "The Evening Standard has been at the centre of events, politically, economically and culturally and is a vital part of the working day for Londoners. If you do not read it you cannot understand our capital."

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