Sales of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child helped to add almost $70 million to Scholastic’s trade division in the quarter ended August 31, 2016, compared to the same period a year ago. The performance of the latest entry in the Harry Potter franchise drove a 104% jump in revenue in the company’s children’s book publishing and distribution group.
Revenue in the group in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 was $137.8 million, up from $67.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2016.
Within the children’s group, sales in the trade vision soared to $116.9 million, up from $47.3 in in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. Cursed Child was not the only strong seller for the publisher, though; Dog Man by Dav Pilkey, A New Class (the fourth book in the Star Wars: Jedi Academy series), and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier all performed particularly well, Scholastic said. The house also received a boost from backlist sales of titles in the Potter franchise.
In the company’s education segment, revenue rose 10%, to $55.2 million, compared to the prior year period. The increase was driven by higher sales of classroom books and magazines, partially offset by lower advertising revenues.
Strong sales of Cursed Child in Canada helped to drive a 23% revenue gain in Scholastic’s international group. Sales were up in the quarter in most major markets, including Asia, Scholastic said.
For the entire company, revenue was up almost 48% over the first quarter in fiscal 2016, reaching $282.7 million. The company posted an operating loss of $39.6 million, down from $49.4 million a year ago.
"Our strategy to simplify our businesses and focus on core growth opportunities delivered strong results in the first quarter of 2017 with comparable year-over-year gains in all three business segments" said Dick Robinson, Scholastic chairman, president and CEO.