Trading at Menzies Distribution “got off to a slow start” this year but the group is “working hard to overcome the challenge of a softer market,” chief executive Patrick Macdonald has said.

Issuing the group’s trading statement for the half-year ending June 25, Macdonald said that certain products, particularly partworks and monthly magazines, have traded below last year.

However, this was partly offset by increased revenues for weekly magazines and weekend newspapers.

A weakness in consumer spending was blamed for the slow trading, although an improvement had been seen in the second quarter, Menzies said.