Lee Enterprises Posts Rising 3Q Profit, Falling Revenue

lee07202010.pngMuch like USA Today parent company Gannett (GCI), which announced rising profit but falling revenue last Friday, midwestern newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises (LEE) today reported an adjusted fiscal third-quarter profit of $11.6 million, compared with $5.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Including one-time items — such as a $39.7 million goodwill impairment charge in the third quarter of 2009 and debt-financing and other costs from both 2009 and 2010 — Lee recorded third-quarter 2010 net income of $10 million, up from a loss of $24.5 million a year ago.

“Our positive momentum continues in the face of a still-unsettled economy,” said CEO Mary Junck in a statement. “Although total revenue remains negative year over year, the rate of decline has slowed by nearly half as our digital sales initiatives gain steam rapidly.”

Operating revenue fell 3.6% year over year to $196.4 million. Print and digital ad revenue fell 4.9% to $140.8 million. Retail advertisement slipped 4.4%, national ads dropped 11% and classifieds fell 4.7%. Employment ad revenue rose 3.5%.

Taken by itself, digital ad revenue climbed 25% to $12.9 million. Digital ads at Lee now account for 9.2% of all ad revenue.

Shares of Lee Enterprises were lately down 5.3% at $2.52 in late morning trading.