Around 550 jobs are being axed at Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspaper publisher Reach after it saw sales and advertising revenues tumble during the coronavirus lockdown.
The group – which also owns a raft of regional newspaper titles across the UK – said it is cutting about 12% of its workforce under an overhaul aimed at saving £35 million a year.
Reach said it will look to create a single editorial division for national and regional titles, as well as a central national and regional circulation operation, while also simplifying management.
In an internal email to Reach staff seen by the PA news agency, the group warned that at least around 325 of the job cuts will go across the editorial and circulation departments.
But Reach will end the recent temporary pay cuts for all staff, except senior executives and board members, and invest more heavily in its digital operations amid an increasing shift towards online news.
Details of the job cuts came as Reach revealed that group revenues slumped 27.5% in its second quarter to June 28 as sales of newspapers fell sharply amid the coronavirus lockdown, sending shares down as much as 16%.
Reach 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.
“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.”
Reach – which also owns local titles including the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and the Bristol Post – told staff the overhaul would see it create an internal group wire service to share editorial content and resources.
The group added it was also overhauling working patterns across “many areas of the business”.
While no immediate changes are planned for the printing division, it stressed it continues to “monitor market developments”.
Reach saw group revenues plunge as much as 30.5% in April, while digital revenues fell sharply overall in the second quarter, down 14.8% despite readers switching online for their news.
It said circulation still remains “significantly” below levels seen before the pandemic, although it has seen a “modest but encouraging” improvement in June, with group revenue declines narrowing slightly to 23.9% last month.
Digital sales falls pared back to 4.9% in June, while print revenues were down 26.7%.
Reach said it was raising its customer registrations target to 10 million by 2022, having already hit its 2020 aim of more than 2.5 million.
Reach has more than 70 websites across news, sport and showbusiness.