Sales in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s trade publishing division fell 20% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first period of 2013, dropping to $32 million from $40 million. The division posted an adjusted EBITDA loss of $1 million in the quarter compared to EBITDA of $7 million in last year’s first quarter.
HMH cited strong demand in the first quarter of 2013 for titles related to the films Life of Pi add The Hobbit as the main reason for the decline. Bad winter weather was another contributing factor.
For the entire company, revenue dropped to $154 million from $166.6 million and the operating loss rose to $140.1 million from $129 million. In a statement, CEO Linda Zecher said that despite several “short-term challenges,” HMH remains confident in “our long-term potential.” HMH noted that early indicators in is education division suggested that the company is “well positioned to capitalize on the growing adoption market.”