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Gloucestershire Business News

Citizen and Echo publishers cutting 550 jobs

Reach, the publisher of the Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo, has announced plans to cut 550 staff across the UK.

The UK's largest group, which also includes the Gloucestershire Live website, Mirror and Express together with the Western Daily Press and Bristol Post, said around 12 per cent of its workforce was set to go.

Reach, previously Trinity Mirror, said the changes would be part of a more centralised editorial structure "bringing together national and regional teams across print and digital to remove duplication while maintaining the strong identity of our news brands".

Around 325 of the job cuts are expected to come across editorial and circulation.

Pay cuts introduced at the same time as furloughs during the pandemic will end except for board members, who will continue with a 20 per cent reduction.

Chief executive Jim Mullen said: "Structural change in the media sector has accelerated during the pandemic and this has resulted in increased adoption of our digital products.

"However, due to reduced advertising demand, we have not seen commensurate increases in digital revenue.

"To meet these challenges and to accelerate our customer value strategy, we have completed plans to transform the business and are ready to begin the process of implementation."

He continued: "Regrettably, these plans involve a reduction in our workforce and we will ensure all impacted colleagues are treated with fairness and respect throughout the forthcoming consultation process.

"The plans will pro provide a stable platform for us to accelerate our strategy, based on stronger and deeper customer relationships, increasing our appeal to advertisers.

"This will ensure the sustainability and profitability of the Reach business."

Staff are due to know how the proposals affect them by Friday.

The cutbacks follow a sharp drop in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, are part of changes which the company said would save £35million a year after an initial cost of £20million.

With print circulation "significantly below" pre COVID-19 levels, revenue for the second quarter fell 27.5 per cent on the previous year with print down 29.5 per cent and digital falling 14.8 per cent.

Figures improved in June with digital revenue down 4.9 per cent, compared to 22.5 per cent in April. Print revenue fell 26.7 per cent in June after falling 31.8 per cent in April year on year.

Reach said it had 41 million unique visitors to its websites in May with 2.5 million registered customers - a figure it aims to grow to 10 million by 2022.

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