Profit & Loss: Marketers make plans for second-half sales boosts

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Media and agency companies reported mixed results for the first quarter and are hoping for higher ad spending in the second half, while marketers say new marketing plans will boost sales and profits.

Gannett Co. posted an 8% improved increase in net income for the first quarter, thanks to better performance by its broadcasting unit and cost-cutting in its newspaper units. Net income rose 39.5% to $243.6 million from $174.5 million; excluding accounting changes made last year, income rose 8%. Revenue dropped 3.2% to $1.52 billion from $1.57 billion in 2001. Gannett's flagship, USA Today, showed a 9% decline in advertising revenue and a 12% decline in ad pages for the quarter.

The New York Times Co. reported net income dropped 11.1% in the first quarter to $54.5 million due to the continued weakness in advertising. Revenue dropped 5.3% to $737.1 million, and advertising revenue at the flagship New York Times dropped 12.4%.

Optimistic

McDonald's Corp. reported its sixth-consecutive earnings decline but said it expects improvement in the second half as it implements revamped service initiatives, menu rotations and more focused advertising. Net income of $253.1 million for the quarter dropped from $378 million for the same quarter last year.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. posted an 8% increase in first-quarter net income to $289.7 million that the company attributed partly to increased advertising and new products driving market share. Colgate reported revenue of $2.2 billion, flat with a year ago. Chairman-CEO Reuben Mark said the company expects to see accelerated sales growth in the second half, as it launches about 20 new products.

Interactive shop Razorfish reported net income of $2.5 million, vs. a loss of $24.9 million during the same period in 2000. After factoring out restructuring costs and other items, net income totaled $900,000. Razorfish posted revenue of $11.3 million for the quarter, down from $43.8 million a year ago. Chief Financial Officer John Roberts said restructuring-including divesting European operations and office leases-has reduced costs.

contributing: hillary chura, cara b. dipasquale, jean halliday and kate macarthur

Fast Facts

Companies reporting this week:

April 22: Anheuser-Busch, Harte-Hanks, Knight Ridder, Viacom

April 23: PepsiCo, Gillette, XM Satellite Radio

April 24: AOL Time Warner, Sara Lee

April 25: Kellogg, Walt Disney, Unilever, Coors Brewery Co.

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