Bloomsbury Publishing reported that revenue in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019, rose just under 1% over fiscal 2018, while pre-tax profit increased 3.4%, rising to £12.0 million. Sales increased to £162.7 million.
Bloomsbury attributed the financial gains to a successful diversification program that increased the non-consumer revenues at the U.K. publisher of Harry Potter. The non-consumer segments, led by its academic and professional division, rose 7% over fiscal 2018, to £63.4 million, while revenue in the consumer side dropped 3% in the year, to £99.3 million.
Within the consumer division, children’s sales fell 5%, to £65.8 million, while adult sales rose 1%, to £ 33.5 million. The increase in adult group sales was due to improvement in both frontlist and backlist sales, Bloomsbury reported, noting that its bestsellers included U.K. Nielsen BookScan’s number 1 title, Fresh Start by Tom Kerridge, and the American bestseller Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher.
The decline in the children’s division was due to difficult comparisons to fiscal 2017, which marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter. Excluding revenue from Harry Potter titles, children’s sales were up 10% over fiscal 2018. The standout performer in the group was Sarah J. Maas's Kingdom of Ash, the conclusion to her bestselling Throne of Glass series.
In the non-consumer group, academic and professional revenue grew 13%, to £41.2 million, due to a combination of organic growth and the acquisition of IB Tauris, which added sales of £2.5 million.
In addition to the broadening of its publishing program, Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton pointed to other successful fiscal 2019 initiatives. Digital sales rose 16% over fiscal 2018, offsetting a 1% drop in print sales, and the company grew its international business, including a 13% increase in sales in North America, to £13.2 million.