McClatchy claims profits, hints at more job cuts

The McClatchy Company on Wednesday claimed a profit in the final quarter of 2009 partly attributable to an improving advertising climate, but CEO Gary Pruitt indicated that the company would proceed with more layoffs.

“Given that total ad revenues are still negative and secular challenges remain, we will continue to focus on costs,”  Pruitt said in a statement, according to a New York Times report. Over the past couple of years, “costs” has meant personnel and has translated as job cuts at McClatchy newspapers.

McClatchy posted a 16.5 percent drop in revenue from a year earlier to $393.2 million, and said advertising revenue was down 20.5 percent, to $308.7 million. But, Pruitt said, advertising trends — particularly on the Web and including classifieds — were better in October, November and December.

“McClatchy spent 2009 shrinking itself to match dwindling ad revenue in the recession,” The Associated Press said. “It ended the year with about two-thirds of the payroll it had in the middle of 2008.”

The publisher also announced a deal to delay payments on its $1.95 billion of debt by selling bonds and assuming higher interest rates.

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