Books Up at Hastings
Book comps rose 1.3% for the year ended January 31 at Hasting Entertainment, beating comp-store sales for the entire chain, which fell 1.6%. Overall, Hastings had a 1.6% decline in total revenue for the year, to $538.7 million, while net income dropped 60%, to $4.1 million. Music and movies were the weakest categories. In the book segment, Hastings had strong sales of new and used trade paperbacks, as well as gains in sales of used hardcovers, calendars and spoken-word audio that offset declines of new hardcovers.
Hastings has frozen all salaries and plans to cut capital expenditures this year by $10.6 million. The chain will open two new stores and close three. Hastings is projecting that net income could fall this year, coming in between $3.8 million and $4.3 million, and it is forecasting comp-store sales to decline in the low single digits for the year.
Mixed Quarter For Scholastic
Sales from continuing operations at Scholastic fell 2%, to $424.9 million, but excluding the impact of foreign currency, revenue would have increased 1%. Net loss for the quarter was $36 million, down from $79.3 million in last year's third quarter. The company’s best performing division was its trade publishing unit, which had a 25% increase in sales in the period, to $58.2 million. Overall, the children’s book publishing and distribution business had a 5% sales increase, to $223.3 million. The gains in the trade segment were offset by a 5% decline in book club sales and 3% drop in book fair sales.
For the first nine months of the year, sales were down 17%, to $1.36 billion, with revenue comparisons negatively impacted by currency exchanges and strong sales last year of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Scholastic still expects earnings per share for the full year to fall in the $1.20 to $1.50 range, excluding one-time charges.
Lande Named Klutz Publisher
Debra Lande has been named to the newly created spot of publisher of Scholastic’s Klutz division. Lande, who begins March 30, was most recently director of product innovation for Chronicle Books.
A Web site that features 1.8 million author Web pages has been launched by Filedby Inc., a new company founded by former Ingram executive Peter Clifton and industry analyst Mike Shatzkin. Filedby.com hosts Web pages that provide a brief biography and a list of works for all American and Canadian authors. Users can log in and write reviews or make comments about authors. Authors or their publishers can update or link to the page.
First CBE Flops
The first Christian Book Expo held in Dallas March 20—23 attracted only 1,500 consumers; organizers had hoped to draw between 15,000 to 20,000 book buyers to the event, which featured 238 Christian authors. Show sponsor ECPA was uncertain if it will hold the event next year.
Freezes for B&N Execs
The top five executives at Barnes & Noble will not receive an increase in their base salaries for the current fiscal year ending January 2010. The freeze was made at the recommendation of management. The execs, including chairman Len Riggio and vice-chairman Steve Riggio, will still be entitled to collect bonuses if performance targets are hit.
Smith Named Wiley COO
Stephen Smith has been named executive v-p and chief operating officer at John Wiley & Sons. Smith, who will be responsible for the overall direction of Wiley’s global publishing businesses, is relocating from the U.K. to Wiley’s headquarters in Hoboken, N.J. He was senior v-p of international development, with responsibility for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.
New Running Press Publisher
Christopher K. Navratil, most recently publisher of Andrews McMeel Universal’s Accord Publishing division, has been named publisher of Running Press. He will start April 1. Navratil replaces Jon Anderson, who left to run Simon & Schuster’s children’s division in January.