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.
Revenue in the publisher's U.S. group fell 21.8% in the first half of 2020 from the comparable period in 2019, and the U.K.-based Quarto said it expects that the global pandemic will impact its results in the second half of this year.
Revenue in the first six months of 2020 fell 7% at Lagardère Publishing compared to the same period in 2019, helped by a 20% jump in June sales. Hachette Book Group had the best performance in the period, with sales falling 1%.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to a 40% decline in fourth quarter revenue at Scholastic and an operating loss of $46 million. The company said it expects a "slower than normal start" to the upcoming school year, and believes it will end the current fiscal year with revenue "slightly below" fiscal 2020.