Cost cuts improved Scholastic's bottom line in the first quarter, but sales at book fairs and book clubs tumbled during the period, and are expected to remain low in the current quarter.
Sales of adult books rose 20.9% in the month over July 2019, and sales in the children/young adult category increased 14.5%, according to AAP's StatShot program. Sales in the K-12 instructional materials category fell 24.9% compared to last July, while sales in the higher educational course materials segment fell 21.9%.
An improvement in fourth quarter profits for the period ended June 30, 2020, was not enough to prevent earnings for the full year at HarperCollins from dropping 15%, to $214 million. Revenue fell 5%, to $1.67 billion, compared to fiscal 2019.
A 38% plunge in sales in its education group in the second quarter of 2020 led to an overall decline of 35.5% in sales at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt compared to a year ago. Costs cuts limited the impact of the sales drop on the publisher's bottom line.
Final estimates from the AAP found a 1.1% increase in total industry sales in 2019 over 2018. Sales were estimated to be $25.93 billion. The increase was led by a 20.4% jump in sales in the preK-12 category, where sales were $4.07 billion. In the trade category, sales inched ahead 0.4%, to $16.23 billion.