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Lee Enterprises’ Profit Rises, But Online Ads Fall 8.4 Percent

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Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) may have achieved consecutive quarterly profitability for the second time in row in Q4, but the turnaround in advertising revenue is still slow-going. In the case of online ads, the segment fell 8.4 percent to $10.6 million in Q4. Compared to Q3’s 24 percent drop in website ads for the Davenport, Iowa newspaper publisher, Q4’s results could mean that the bottom has been passed and there’s no place to go but up. However, Lee’s resurgence could be short-lived. Like other newspaper publishers who swung to profit in the second half of last year, the turnaround was based largely on deep cost-cutting. Since there are only so many employees that can be laid off and only so many printing plants that can be closed, sustaining those profits could be even tougher stemming the losses.

In all, the company posted a Q4 profit of $27.9 million ($0.62 EPS), swinging from last year