Led by a 6% increase in sales in its manufacturing segment, total revenue at Courier Corp. rose 5% for the fiscal year ended September 28, 2013, to $275 million, and net income increased to $11.2 million from $9.2 million in fiscal 2012, a year which included $3.3 million in restructuring costs. Sales in Courier’s publishing segment fell 2%, to $37.6 million but its operating loss was cut to $2.1 million from $4.4 million.
In the publishing group, Courier CEO Jim Conway said higher sales of e-books –revenue topped the $1 million mark in the fiscal year—plus continued cost controls and more efficient production methods helped to limit the size of the loss in the year. Dover appeared to perform the best as the company’s investment in e-books is “starting to generate a larger audience and improved profitability,” Conway said in a statement. REA and Creative Homeowner continued to be hurt by the loss of Borders and Home Depot’s decision to stop selling most books.
In the larger book manufacturing group, where sales hit $247 million, education sales were up 14% from fiscal 2012, with most of the growth related to sales of college textbooks, with some growth coming in el-hi textbooks. Sales to the religious market were up 2% over fiscal 2012, while sales in the trade market were down 2% from fiscal 2012, reflecting, Courier said, tight inventory management by publishers that led to smaller print quantities. Despite the solid revenue performance, Courier noted that margins in the manufacturing segment were under pressure due to a competitive pricing market and lower recycling revenue.
Conway noted that Courier enters “fiscal 2014 with exciting prospects, but also continuing challenges.” Investments in customization and content management have expanded the company’s opportunities, Conway said, but added, “we face the same pressures on print pricing as the rest of the industry.” As a result, Courier expects fiscal 2014 sales of between $275 million and $295 million, compared to $275 million in fiscal 2013; earnings per diluted share are forecast to be between $.70 and $1.00, which compares with fiscal 2013 earnings of $.98 per diluted share.