Simon & Schuster Finishes with Record Profits

Simon & Schuster reported fourth quarter sales of $225 million, up $10 million from a year ago, helping the publisher to finish the year with sales rising $19 million, at $809 million in all. Parent company CBS said in their announcement that year-end results "reflect growth in print book sales."

Once again, margins rose more than sales, and S&S had record profits for the year. Fourth quarter OIBDA was $37 million for the quarter, compared to $31 million a year ago. For the full year, OIBDA of $113 million was up $24 million, and operating income of $106 million was up $26 million. That's an operating income margin of 13 percent for the year. S&S took a restructuring charge of $1 million in the just-reported quarter, related to reorganization of their manufacturing and production department announced in November.

CEO Carolyn Reidy said that "growth in print" sales "reflects two of our major properties" that sold a "heavier than normal" amount in print: The Rush Limbaugh children's picture book, and the Duck Commanders. "In both cases, ebook sales were quite light." For the fourth quarter, Reidy said they "had growth in both physical and digital" sales. "Every single division was up significantly," Reidy noted, making "a great ending to the year."

For the full year, all digital products comprised 27 percent of sales, versus 23 percent in 2012, growing by 22 percent overall. eBooks alone comprised 24 percent of sales, compared to 20 percent in 2012. Reidy did note, however, that "we were surprised at the softness of digital sales in January" 2014, after the reported period.

S&S's results were in line with parent company CBS, where overall sales were up 6 percent in the fourth quarter, to $3.9 billion, and adjusted OIBDA of $927 million was up 7 percent.