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Harlequin Sales Slump Hurts Torstar Profits

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May 15-31, 2004 Edition

Harlequin Sales

Slump Hurts

Torstar Profits

TORONTO/05/05/04—Torstar Corp. has posted a $2 million decline in profits for the quarter ending March 31 due to sluggish sales at Harlequin, the book publishing unit of newspaper publisher. Torstar profits for the first quarter dropped to $23 million, compared to $25 million in profits for the same period last year.

A gain in operating profits for the newspaper operation was offset by lower earnings at Harlequin, Torstar reported. Operating revenues dropped slightly to $352.3 million from $353.2 million.

Torstar President and CEO Robert Prichard reported at the company’s annual meeting on May 5 that the newspaper units recorded a 5.9 percent increase in revenue and 20.3 percent in profits, while Harlequin had a challenging downturn in mass-market paperbacks.