Gannett Co Inc., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher said Monday that its quarterly profit fell 9 percent on weaker advertising sales.

The publisher of USA Today and 84 other daily newspapers, and also own 23 television stations, reported net income of $191.8 million, or 84 cents a share, compared with $210.6 million or 90 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 8.4 percent to $1.7 billion.

Excluding a gain of 7 cents per share for the sale of land, the results were in line with the estimate of 77 cents per share from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

We faced a very challenging advertising environment as the economy further weakened in the quarter, particularly in the latter half of March, Chief Executive Craig Dubow said in a statement.

We are focused on positioning the company for the future from both a revenue and expense perspective as we navigate the uncertain economic environment.

Advertising revenue in the publishing unit fell 8.3 percent to $1.1 billion, while retail ad revenue fell 7.8 percent and national revenue flat. Television expenses dropped 6.1 percent to $106 million compared to $112.9 million for the same period a year ago.

Ad revenue in the United States, where the majority of Gannett's operations are based, lost 11.2 percent. Ad revenue rose 2.1 percent at USA Today, but paid advertising pages dropped.

Total publishing revenue fell 8.6 percent to $1.5 billion, while broadcast revenue fell 7 percent to $170.2 million.

Shares of the McLean-based publisher which has lost almost half its value in the last 12 months, was little changed at $28 in Monday trade.