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DAILY Mirror publisher Reach has bounced back to strong pre-tax profits despite a plunge in print advertising that has hit all newspaper groups.

Revenue for the first six months of the year is down by 17% to £291 million due to falls in both print ads and circulation.

But a focus on digital and the cost savings that come from a move to slash 550 jobs leave the business sounding more optimistic than for some time.

Profits more than doubled to £53.5 million, taking earnings per share to 14.6p compared to a loss last time. The shares jumped 20% to 77.3p.

Costs from the phone hacking scandal remain an issue. Provisions for legal pay outs for what the company dubs “historical legal issues” are up by £5 million to £25 million.

Chief executive Jim Mullen said: “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. This illustrates the significant potential of the customer value strategy as our websites, apps and newsletters attract increased page views from our scale audience, helping to drive forward digital revenues. Circulation sales have also stabilised and shown a gradual recovery during Q2 and Q3.”

Aside from the Mirror, Reach publishes hundreds of titles including the Star, Daily Record, Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo.