Advertising revenue at Newquest was “virtually flat” for the second quarter of the year – but revenue from circulation actually increased despite fewer people buying its UK newspapers.

The latest financial update from parent company Gannett showed a rise in second-quarter group profits of 84% – but this was largely down to the US-based company’s acquisition of Belo’s TV stations.

Revenues from advertising at its UK publishing arm – which includes the Bolton News, Wirral Globe and the Lancashire Telegraph – were down 0.5% compared to the same period last year.

But despite falling circulation numbers across its portfolio, revenue from circulation actually increased by an unspecified amount.

That suggests the cover price increases at its UK titles – most put their prices up by 40% last summer – has worked at least from a revenue perspective.

The cover price rise actually led to a significant overnight reduction in print sales, with the Lancashire Telegraph falling 33.9% and the Bolton News 32.2%.

The report says: “Advertising revenue at Newsquest was virtually flat, in pounds, as national advertising was 8.9pc higher and retail advertising was unchanged.

“An increase in circulation revenue at Newsquest was offset by circulation revenue declines at domestic publishing operations.

“Newsquest is also an Internet leader in the UK where its network of web sites attracted 119.8 million monthly page impressions from approximately 17.8 million unique users in June 2014.”