HarperCollins ended a difficult year on a down note, posting an operating loss of $4 million on a 20.6% decline in revenue, to $278 million in the fourth quarter ended June 30. The loss in the period included an impairment charge of $3 million. For the full year, revenue fell 17.8%, to $1.14 billion, and the publisher had an operating loss of $16 million compared to operating income of $160 million in fiscal 2008. The loss in fiscal 2009 includes a total of $33 million in one-time charges with $30 million taken in the third quarter when HC underwent an extensive reorganization. Adjusted operating income fell 89.4%, to $17 million.
In a brief written statement, CEO Brian Murray called fiscal 2009 “a challenging year.” He said HC’s performance was hurt by the general decline in book sales, a decline in backlist reorders and the Anderson News bankruptcy. In the U.K., HC incurred a bad debt charge associated with the EUK bankruptcy.
During the year, HC revamped its Collins division and integrated it into the general books group and also closed the Brenda Bowen children's imprint. HarperCollins UK also underwent a restructuring. In all, more than 200 jobs are believed to have been eliminated.
Looking ahead, Murray said that HC “has a good fall list and are looking forward to a new year.”