Centaur Sounds Profits Alarm As It Loses Two Thirds Of Job Ads

imageimageNew Media Age and The Lawyer publisher Centaur has followed up last month’s announcement of a 16 percent sales half-year sales slide by warning its upcoming quarter will be even worse. From today’s announcement: “Since (January), we have seen a further deterioration in trading driven in particular by significant weakness in recruitment advertising, where revenues in January 2009 this year were a third of the level achieved in January 2008. Trading in February has, to date, shown few signs of improvement.

“We have not experienced any material change in our market position during this period and these results therefore reflect the extreme challenges faced by our clients at this time … Due to the seasonal nature of our business, Centaur typically earns the majority of its profits in the four months from March to June each year and unless there is a reduction in the recent rate of revenue decline for the remainder of this financial year, we anticipate our performance for the year to June 2009 to be significantly below the board’s expectations.”

The group has been making cost cuts over the last few months – turning Mad.co.uk from an original-content site in to an aggregator, closing Public Private Finance magazine, publicprivatefinance.com and Precision Marketing.

Before the downturn bit last year, Centaur had said its marketing and creative titles were its best-performing, with online sales growing by a third on strong job classifieds sales in MarketingWeek.co.uk and DesignWeek.co.uk; TheLawyer reported similar success in legal recruitment ads – but it seems everyone’s beginning to suffer now that the jobs market is worsening. Centaur stock was down nearly 29 percent in early-morning trading.