Tribune Publishing Co. reported Friday first-quarter losses that widened nearly 10-fold, as the COVID-19 pandemic required the newspaper publisher, which papers include the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and The Baltimore Sun, to accelerate cost-cutting measures and to grow its digital-only subscriber base given the continued decline in revenue. The net loss widened to $45.3 million, or $1.26 a share, from $4.7 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell 11.5% to $216.5 million, as advertising revenue declined 20.6% and circulation revenue decreased 3.1%. Home delivery revenue fell by $4.4 million and single copy revenue fell $1.1 million, while digital subscription revenue increased $2.6 million. There were no consensus analyst estimates for losses or revenue at FactSet. Operating expenses increased 10.6% to $278.5 million, including an impairment charge of $51.0 million related to COVID-19 and restructuring of real estate. "We recognize that coming out of the pandemic, the Company must accelerate its digital footprint and position itself as a smaller, more nimble operation in order to sustain itself for the long term," said Chief Executive Terry Jimenez. "Accordingly, we have and are aggressively flattening our management organization, reducing our real estate footprint and eliminating our fixed cost infrastructure." The stock, which rose 1% in premarket trading, has dropped 24.8% year to date through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has lost 3.7%.
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