Trade sales in the quarter ended November 30, 2016 jumped 60% at Scholastic over the comparable period a year ago. The gain was led by several Harry Potter titles including the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 and 2, and a number of backlist titles. Trade revenue hit $98.5 million in the quarter, up from $61.7 million in last year’s second quarter.
The increase in trade sales offset declines in Scholastic’s book fair revenue, which fell 2% due in part to the company’s decision to reduce the number of fairs in the quarter, while book club revenue dropped 11%. Overall, sales in the company’s children’s book publishing and distribution business rose 5%, to $432.5 million, in the second quarter.
Revenue for the entire company rose 4% in the quarter, to $623.1 million, and net income increased by the same percentage, hitting $67.9 million.
In the company’s other segments, revenue in the education group fell 2%, to $71.1 million, compared to the prior year period, mainly as a result of lower sales of consumer magazines and library publishing. The loss was partially offset by higher sales of classroom books and literacy initiatives, as well as professional services, Scholastic reported.
International revenue in the quarter was $119.5 million, a 3% increase over last year’s second period. The increase was due to new Harry Potter publishing in Canada and in Scholastic’s export division, as well as higher sales in the company’s clubs, fairs, and trade operations in Scholastic’s major markets, but was partially offset by lower software distribution revenue, with Scholastic saying it is “exiting this low margin business in Australia.”
For the first half of fiscal 2017, which ends in May, revenue was up 14%, to $905.8 million, and net income rose 82.5%, to $28.3 million.