Daily Mail and Metro publisher Associated Newspapers has reported a 26 per cent decline in operating profit, partly due to the group's "investment in our growing digital businesses". Profit at the national newspaper division of Daily Mail and General Trust fell from £46 million to £34 million in the six months to the end of March, according to the company's half-year results, published today. DMGT entered the crowded online deals market last August with the launch of discount site Wowcher and has been investing in the site with a major marketing push. The group has also been investing in its Digital Property Group, which includes FindaProperty.com and Primelocation.com and is being merged with Zoopla.co.uk. Since the period covered by this latest set of results, DMG has also bought recruitment search engine Jobrapido for up to €30 million. The fall in operating profit at Associated was also attributed to lower print advertising revenues. Revenue fell slightly over the same period, down one per cent at £435 million. DMGT said: "The market shares of the Daily Mail and of The Mail on Sunday's were higher in March 2012 than in March 2011 and early indications are that the launch of the Sun's Sunday edition has had little impact on the performance of the latter." However, it added: "Overall for the full year, Associated now expects underlying revenues to be slightly below those of the prior year despite the benefit of the Daily Mail cover price increases, the Olympics and a strong digital performance." Mail Online continued to grow - with 94 million monthly unique visitors and revenue up 75 per cent year-on-year in the six months from October to the end of March. Regional newspaper division Northcliffe Media saw a 10 per cent decline in revenue, at £107 million, over the six months. A new national advertising partnership with Trinity Mirror began in May and is expected to deliver improvements. Operating profits at Northcliffe grew by 34 per cent from £8 million to £11 million, "reflecting the early benefits of the transformation plan", DMGT said. Overall headcount across Associated and Northcliffe fell by 593 to 6,280 during the half-year period covered by the results.