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Archant sells Norwich home to local insurance firm but will remain in building

Archant has sold its headquarters in Norwich to a local insurance company,  but will continue to remain in the building, it has confirmed.

The regional publisher will lease a floor at Prospect House from new owners Alan Boswell Insurance, which will take the other two.

News of the sale was first reported by the Eastern Daily Press, Archant’s flagship daily title, which is based in the building on Rouen Road.

Archant’s executive chairman Simon Bax told the paper: “We have always said our intention was to remain in the city centre within the heart of our communities and close to the amenities and transport links many of our staff depend on. This view was overwhelmingly supported by staff.”

It is understood the publisher’s signage will remain on the outside of the building and that no staff have been moved as a result of the sale.

The company has been based at Prospect House for almost 50 years. It first touted a move in 2017, saying the building was “too big” for its needs.

Archant made a pre-tax loss of £7.6m last year, according to filed accounts, with group revenue down 9.6 per cent to £87.3m for 2018.

It shuttered its own printing presses in Thorpe, Norwich, in September, putting 96 jobs at risk of redundancy, as it outsourced the printing of all of its newspaper titles.

The same month Archant chief executive Jeff Henry stepped down after five years at the regional publisher.

Picture: Google Maps

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8 thoughts on “Archant sells Norwich home to local insurance firm but will remain in building”

  1. Having reduced the staff numbers considerably they don’t need all the floors it’s true however they’ll need more than the one floor they’ve leased back.
    The only way I can see this working is to make some of the many commercial managers redundant. They’re already redundant in actual terms as with so few staff to manage , so little business coming in and such appalling revenue returns, it’s difficult to justify their positions any longer.
    Unlike the print centre redundancies most people, inside the business and out, will view this as the company taking a proactive approach to cost reduction rather than cutting jobs at the front end or eroding the news quality any further.
    The advertising reps can also be mobilised, they are given company cars, phones and laptops so there’s no reason for them to be office based and taking up valuable room when their purpose is to engage face to face with prospects, something they seem to do less and less these days.
    Alternatively there has to be questions asked as to the viability of keeping a costly face to face sales operation running when Matthew Kelly has previously stated Archants customers prefer the online or telesales booking option over a sales rep visit, either way sizeable cost savings can be made and valuable office space freed up.

    Everyone knows Archant is top heavy with managers and a commercial management and field sales audit is long overdue, one now would give a chance to justifiably reduce overheads with no damage to the business as a result.

  2. “ decisions have been made for serving our local communities as effectively as possible while also maximising the response for our advertising clients”,
    Not the case, it’s to reduce costs with a view to closing titles and is the most laughable quote since yesterday’s head office announcement to all staff.

    Rather than announcing they’d closed the long standing Norwich Advertiser and be seen to be retreating from the city they chose to launch this dreadful title which was cobbled together and thrown out to much fanfare by the editor.
    It was also to protect The Advertiser’ ad revenue which was transferred across but over the months revenue and interest has dwindled so much so that this paper has been chosen to be ‘downgraded’

    As with the GY Advertiser all they’re doing is trying to gradually migrate readers into the online sites to drive up traffic with the longer term purpose of closing both titles and making them online reader titles only, something I and many other commenters on HTFP said would happen sooner rather than later and in light of the cost to produce freesheets bringing in dreadful as revenues and which so few are interested in any longer.

    This is also the first step to closing titles now the company has contracted its printing out to a third party way off the local Norfolk patch, again something many predicted on HTFP once the print centre closure was announced.
    Look out for more titles being driven online only in the coming weeks

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