“This summer Scholastic again broke publishing records with the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Exceptional promotion and marketing combined with overwhelmingly favorable publicity resulted in unprecedented sales, while efficient distribution and execution helped us achieve high sell-through and improved margins. Sales of READ 180® and educational technology also rose solidly in their primary selling season, reflecting Scholastic’s continued success raising student achievement,” commented Richard Robinson, Chairman, CEO and President. “These positive first quarter results position us well to meet our fiscal 2008 goals while making planned investments to drive long-term growth, in particular in our education and children’s book businesses, and progress toward our 9 to 10% operating margin goal.”The company reaffirmed its forcast of full year revenues between $2.3 to $2.5 billion and earnings per diluted share of $2.35 to $2.85.
Other highlights from the press release:
- Children’s Book Publishing and Distribution. Revenue for the quarter was $342.5 million, up over 200% from prior year. Potter revenue increased to approximately $240 million from $5 million reflecting the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and higher sales of the first six Harry Potter titles. Operating profit for the quarter, improved to $2.7 million compared to a loss of $67.3 million a year ago
- Educational Publishing. Revenue for the quarter was $127.8 million, level with the prior year period. Educational technology sales rose 9% largely due to solid sales of READ 180 and FASTT Math™. This was offset by schools’ continued weak spending on supplemental materials, which resulted in lower sales in Paperbacks and Library Publishing. Segment operating profit was $30.6 million compared to $32.7 million in the first quarter of last year
- International. Revenue of $99.6 million was up 26% (17% in local currencies) from the prior year period. Segment operating loss improved to $2.7 million compared to $5.5 million in the prior year period, primarily due to strong export sales of Harry Potter and improved results in Australia and Asia.
- Media, Licensing and Advertising. Segment revenue for the quarter rose 8% to $17.0 million, due in part to higher sales of interactive products. Segment operating loss improved to $5.1 million from $6.1 million
- Other Financial Results. Corporate overhead in the quarter was $20.3 million compared to $19.9 million in the prior year period, reflecting higher Harry Potter-related expenses, partly offset by company-wide efforts to reduce costs