Yell Group is being pulled backwards as a business by costly print products, as its online strategy proves healthy. Publishers of the Yellow Pages directories and the Yell online search engine, Yell Group has been busy restructuring its debts and technology team under a new CTO as it looks to become the main player in local search online, just as it was in the pre-internet days.

Yell reported that its online business had sales grow by nine per cent in the UK, 28 per cent in the USA and 17 per cent in Spain, despite these being three of the hardest hit economies in the current downturn. Internet sales now account for 20 per cent of group revenues, Yell reported, an increase of 5 per cent from the same time last year. In the US internet revenue grew by 28.1 per cent and unique visitors increased by 2.9 per cent.

The famous Yellow Pages of yore continue to decline and affect the company. Overall UK revenues were down by 12.8 per cent. Yell Group announced it was carrying out a share issue to raise funds for debt reduction.

In August Yell Group hired Rorie Devine as CTO. Devine had previously been CTO and run away betting success Betfair following a technology career in banking. His experience in banking and betting have made him a big believer in the exchange business model that Betfair and Ebay utilise and it will be interesting to see how he drives the technology strategy to increase online revenue still further.