Revenue in Scholastic’s children’s book publishing and distribution group rose 1% in the second quarter ended November 30, over the comparable period a year ago, the publisher reported. The increase was led by a 16% gain in Scholastic's trade unit, where revenue rose to $95.9 million.
Scholastic said the trade increase was driven by frontlist bestsellers including Dav Pilkey's Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas and J. K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The backlist surprise hit The Wonky Donkey also contributed.
The sales gain in the trade unit was offset by a 1% decline in book fairs where sales fell 1%, to $229.2 million, compared to the second quarter in fiscal 2018. Scholastic said that while the number of fairs held in the back-to-school quarter were up over a year ago, revenue was adversely impacted by new accounting guidelines. Book club sales rose 1% over the second quarter last year, to $101.3 million, due to a higher number of book club events held with more teachers and parents ordering club titles online.
For the entire company, revenue in the quarter rose 1% over last fiscal year’s second quarter, to $604.7 million. Net income jumped 25.4%, to $71.6 million. The new accounting guidelines lowered revenue in the quarter by $10.8, Scholastic said.
In Scholastic’s education group, revenue increased 4%, mainly driven by higher sales of classroom library materials, professional services, and custom publishing. In Its international segment, Scholastic's second quarter revenue was relatively flat with the prior year period, with improved results in trade publishing operations in major markets. Gains in its trade and education businesses in Asia, especially China, were offset by the adverse impact of $4.6 million in foreign exchange in the current quarter, Scholastic reported.
For the first half of the current fiscal year, total revenue was up 4.5% over the first six months of fiscal 2018, to $823.1 million, and Scholastic posted net income of $10.3 million compared to a loss of $6.6 million a year ago.