Sales at HarperCollins fell modestly in their fiscal third quarter, at $412 million, their fourth straight quarterly decline, $9 million lower than a year ago. The company said the drop was “primarily due to the difficult comparisons to the prior year, which had higher sales of Rachel Hollis’ titles,” along with a $3 million negative effect from foreign exchange.
But EBITDA actually gained, at $55 million up $2 milllion, “primarily due to the different mix of titles.” Digital sales rose 3 percent compared to a year ago, “primarily due to growth in downloadable audiobooks,” and comprised 23 percent of consumer sales. In the current quarter, “The retail market continued to be adversely affected by government restrictions globally. However, online sales have been strong in recent weeks and e-books have returned to growth.”
At parent News Corp., sales were $2.27 billion, down 8 percent from $2.46 billion a year ago. The company took a big non-cash impairment charge of $1.1 billion, primarily at Foxtel and News America Marketing.
Looking ahead, they noted, “Clearly the pandemic will have an impact on our results in the Fourth Quarter, but all of our businesses are embarking on cost-cutting programs intended to deal with short-term need but also to ensure that the Company is well-equipped to prosper in a decidedly different business environment after the crisis abates.”