Revenue at Scholastic hit $283.8 million in the first quarter ended Aug. 31, 2014. This figure is up 3% over the same period a year ago. The net loss increased to $34.1 million from $29.9 million. Both periods included severance costs associated with Scholastic’s cost-savings programs. Despite the higher loss, Scholastic said it still expects to hit its financial targets for fiscal 2015, including revenue of $1.9 billion and earnings per share between $1.80 and $2.00 before the impact of one-time items.
Within its operating groups, sales in the children’s book publishing and distribution division rose to $54.7 million from $54.6 million in last year’s first quarter. Trade sales fell 8%, to $34.5 million, has higher sales of Minecraft titles could not offset lower sales from Hunger Games and Harry Potter titles. Sales in the book fair unit rose 10% and book fair sales increase 35% and while Scholastic acknowledged that the quarter is a small one in terms of revenue, the company was encouraged by the trend.
In Scholastic’s other divisions, sales in the educational technology and services segment fell 6%, to $89.4 million, primarily reflecting lower sales of the company's reading technology programs and its Common Core Code X curriculum print product, which sold over $4 million in the first quarter of last year, including a major sale which was not repeated this year. Sales in the classroom and supplemental materials publishing group increased 13% to $42.8 million, driven by higher sales of classroom books and guided and leveled reading programs.
In its overseas markets, sales rose 10%, to $86.3 million, as a result of higher media and technology sales in Australia, improved performance across all key channels in the U.K., and higher direct sales in Malaysia and Thailand.